Saturday, 13 April 2013

Sorry kid, I don't like your mum.

How do you handle organising kids play dates when quite bluntly, you don’t like the parents?
My children have got a range of different friends, some of the parents I get along with really well with, others it can be a little bit awkward and then there are some who I would be downright frightened to leave my children in their care.

Generally speaking, I know people are all different and I will suck up my feelings and smile politely for the duration of a playdate, well because it's for the kids. Right? 

But now I am being faced with a more difficult situation, The Princess has a little friend that she talks about constantly and every time I go to the preschool this little girl comes and holds my hand and begs me to let The Princess come over for a play. The little girl herself is a lovely, kind and friendly child and normally I wouldn’t hesitate, but it is her family that is currently giving me a little crisis of conscience.

You see this sweet, polite little girl has never had a nit free day in her life, every time I see her it looks like her hair is alive and running. Her mother is a friendly enough person but jitters constantly, repeats herself, has pupils the size of pin points and smells strongly of bourbon at 9 o’clock in the morning.  
I have had the little girl over for a play at our house, but I have been making up excuses for over 12 months now as to why The Princess can’t go over to her house and while I feel bad for denying the little girl a much wanted visitor, I just don’t and won't feel comfortable putting my daughter into that environment.

There is another child my eldest son is friends with who’s family I wouldn’t be friends with myself because as snobby as it sounds, they are different people to me and quite rough around the edges I guess. But I certainly don’t class them as dangerous at all, and at nearly 11 I feel he is now old enough to decide who he wants to spend time around so I let him stay over there and wash the cigarette smoke smell from his clothes when he returns.
I remember having a really close friend myself when I was about 10/11 and I would keep very quiet about what went on at those play dates choosing to stay over at her place on Fridays walking home from school and catching a bus home rather than getting lifts from my mother knowing I wouldn’t have been allowed to go in a million years if mum knew half of the drug use, alcohol abuse and generalised complete neglect that was going on in that house hold.

I suppose the fact that I hid it from my mother meant in a way that I was old enough to know it wasn’t a safe way to live and I felt bad for my friend that that environment was her life, but appreciated mine all the more for it.
The difference here is I am not as naive as my mother, I know exactly what pin prick pupils, black eyes and the smell of booze at 9am means, I also know that getting nits occasionally might be a fact of being at school but no kid should ever be ridden with the bloody things every single day of their life, and as guilty I feel for the sweet little girl who is stuck in the middle just wanting to have friends, I simply can’t in good conscience let The Princess go over to her house.

So I guess my question today is how can you refuse continuous play date requests from families you are uncomfortable around without being hurting a small childs feelings and at what age do you think it is ok to take a step back and let your children decide for themselves what type of people they want to be friends with?




Bin said...

I think you have to do what is right. You're doing the right thing not letting your child go. As the old adage goes 'if you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas' or maybe nits in this case lol. You also have to think that children eventually will model their parents behaviour. One day this poor little girls eyeballs could possibly be like pin dots and her breath may also very well smell of bourbon and 9am!

The Kids Are All Right said...

That is really tough. It could be an opportunity for your children to learn compassion and acceptance, however if you feel they are unsafe in these other houses then follow your instinct. Especially with your youngest - you are not comfortable and that's that.