Playdate Problem

Updated on October 18, 2011
M.M. asks from Wallingford, PA
5 answers

I'm having a little problem and don't know what to do... My son gets asked repeatedly for playdates with a child that he doesn't really care about. They've had playdates in the past and it was never that pleasant and my son has said to me he doesn't want to go to their house anymore and he also doesn't want to have that kid over anymore. I've dogded playdate requests by that family by making up polite excuses, but I'm running out of things to say. We haven't invited the other kid over, yet his mom keeps asking me... How can I decline once and for all without being rude?? Thanks for your advice!

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answers from Oklahoma City on

"It's so nice of you to keep asking X to come play but here's the thing. Your little X hit, kicked, wasn't nice, doesn't play with the same things, as my X and he just really keeps telling me no, he doesn't want to come over to your house or play with you little X anymore, I am sorry".

If you like her and want to spend some time together then by all means, find a Mothers-Day-Out program at some local Methodist church and put both kids in. They may be in the same room but so will a dozen or more other kids. That way you ladies can have a couple of hours to go have a pop, go buy groceries, go to the hair salon, etc...

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answers from Washington DC on

I think you need to be honest with the mom. "Johnny keeps inviting Timmy to play, but Timmy doesn't want to. I haven't known what to say to you, but I think that for now we should just enjoy company without the kids (if you are friends) and see if the kids come around to being friends again." Kid friendships are so mercurial. And, honestly, sometimes your friend's kids are not your kid's friends. DH has a couple he's grown apart from in part because when the boys got to about 12 or 13, SS told DH that he really didn't like the guy anymore (their differences were greater as they grew up) and DH didn't make them hang out.

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answers from Washington DC on

I don't know that you can decline "once and for all" without the other family at least wondering what happened. If you continue to dodge playdates I would think they'd get the message and give up. If your son has had lots of play dates at their home but very few at yours, I myself would probably host at least one more play date and observe the boys during that. Frankly sometimes kids say "I don't want any more play dates at X's house" because they just find X's toys boring -- not because they have any issue with X. Have you asked your son about that?

There's a lot we don't know and maybe a few things you don't know yet either. It's really hard to comment when we don't know the boys' ages or what they attempt to play or whether they know each other in school as well, etc.

Why does your son say he doesn't care for this kid? Is he specific about problems he has or does he just shrug and say "It's boring"?

Have you observed them playing together? Do they just have different interests, or do they actively clash or even argue? Does one boy like to be outside and running all the time, while the other prefers doing quieter things like Legos on the floor?

Did playdates with this child get started just because of proximity -- in other words, because he was a classmate of your son's or because he lives nearby? Or did they start because the boys seemed to get along well in class or elsewhere, or seemed to share some interest? If it's just proximity and nothing else, well, you tried, but they don't click. If they started out with somethiing shared like an interest, what happened with that?

You're absolutely not obliged to have your son play with a kid with whom he just doesn't click or with whom he has nothing in common. I'm just offering the questions so maybe you can probe if the issue really is just "they have different styles" or something else.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Honesty is the best policy. You can say it very nicely in a tactful way. "Gosh, I'm really sorry, Jane, but Johnny didn't feel the last few playdates with Timmy went so well. Right now, I'm afraid he isn't interested in another playdate with Timmy. I guess for now, they will just have to see each other at school. Thanks so much for asking, I hope Timmy can find another friend to come on Saturday." If you can't say it over the phone, send an email.

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answers from Chicago on

I don't think you have to be reason to are only going to hurt the mom's feelings and no good is going to come of being "honest".

Here is the tack I would take. Next time she asks..."Oh thanks Jane for the invite....I feel so bad always having to decline your playdate offers, but things are crazy busy around our house when things slow down I give you a call."

Is the mom pushing the play dates because she wants to be friends with you...are you interested in being friends with her....if so maybe next time...decline the play date but ask if she would like to get together some time for coffee etc....without the kids so that you can talk.

I can't see any reason to directly address the issue with the other are just going to create ill will for yourself.

1 mom found this helpful
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