Here’s what to do if your kids are misbehaving on a playdate

“No one is given a comprehensive parenting manual at birth and we all learn along the way. But we do need to talk about play behavior,” writes Lauren Davidson, an established author and mother of four and a cat.

Lauren’s oldest children are 9 and 6 and attend a small school. So she knows most of their friends’ families and is just as happy to drop them off for a playdate as she is to receive them at her house without the parents present.

What she feels less comfortable with is the constant correction of the small visitors, she says in a blog on Scary Mommy.

Cat hunter

She writes, “Nothing serious happened, but there was some behavior that I wouldn’t be happy about seeing my kids doing in someone else’s house. For example, I’ve had to stop a 5-year-old from picking up my toddler daughter and swinging it around. Another 5 year old I had to stop chasing our cat after repeatedly telling him not to because our cat bites when provoked. And I still find pieces of Lego behind furniture from when a 7-year-old decided to launch several Avengers ships across the room during a mock battle (does he have any idea how long it takes to build those things?). And let’s not forget the time I had to tell an 8-year-old I’m not a cook (he asked if I could reheat his food later because he wanted to play video games during lunch).’

Also read: ‘I am annoyed by the behavior of the children (9 and 11) of our best friends’

Unfortunately for her, Lauren could go on for hours sharing stories of kids misbehaving in someone else’s home. She writes, “Then there was the time when a child (the aforementioned cat hunter) pulled all the toys out of every bin in my living room, including several small-piece games. When his mother came to pick him up and saw the room, she told him to help clean up before he left. He said ok, ran into the kitchen, asked for a snack to go and ran out. Without cleaning anything up.’

Continuous lesson

Curious if this behavior is part of a trend of ill-mannered children, the writer called Tamara Mose, a sociology professor at Brooklyn College and author of The Playdate: Parents, Children, and the New Expectations of Play. Tamara told her that even though children have lost some socialization time due to the pandemic, learning good manners is an ongoing lesson anyway: “I’m sure there has been a slowdown in children’s socialization given the pandemic, but they were still doing it socializing, However? At least within their own family,” she says.

Read also: Terrorized by your own child: “She taunts her sister until there is a fight and then denies everything”

“They probably came home with a lot more in those two years, and that maybe translates to other people’s houses, like saying please and thank you all the time,” she adds. She stresses that we need to give kids some slack because we don’t really know what they’re dealing with – maybe some situations are more difficult for them.

Experience yourself

If this is also the case with your child, it is useful for the parent who organizes the play date to inform you, just as you would if your child has a food allergy, for example. “Parents should feel free to let other parents know that their child is breaking the rules if ‘safety’ is an issue,” explains Tamara.

“But children also have to experience and figure things out for themselves. We used to have to learn how to deal with the bully in the neighborhood ourselves. We also had to learn how to deal with the shy boy in the neighborhood or the fun boy in the neighborhood,” she notes. “Everyone has to deal with these different personalities, and the only way kids learn to deal with it is to experience it themselves.”

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Source: Scary Mommy

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