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?