Dear Parents of my Daughter’s School Friend,
I really hope you don’t take offence to what I’m about to say, though I’m sure you will. And, I know I’m being a chicken by writing this anonymously. I just don’t want to embarrass you or myself. Nor do I want to put a strain on our kids’ friendship. Although, as it stands, there are a few things straining it (from my perspective, anyway).
At the end of the day, I can only assume you simply don’t know how to go about instilling better behaviour in your child. I am sure I sound like a total biotch/ sancti-mommy here, BUT I’m not trying to be. It’s just that there really isn’t a solid reason for your nine-year-old to act the way she does, sometimes. The only reason I see, is: She gets away with it.
I’m sorry to say it but when my daughter asks for yours to come over, sometimes I groan (silently). Often, I say yes anyway (because I know they have fun, together). But other times, I’m more inclined to say no. In fact, my husband downright refuses to be the sole parent at home, when your child is over at our house. Reason being? He’s not a fan of how she helps herself to what’s in our fridge and pantry. Nor does he appreciate the fact that she fails to use ‘please’ and ‘thank you,’ and instead speaks to him in a demanding tone. I say he is being a bit of drama king. She’s not that tough to have around and I honestly know she’s a good kid, at heart. Her manners are just lacking a bit, that’s all.
Unfortunately, I would guess if he doesn’t want her at our house and I am not always open to the idea, then we aren’t likely the only parents reluctant to have your child in our home.
If fellow parents were thinking this way about my daughter, I would want to know so I could do something about it!
Now, before I continue, I like your daughter. I really do! She’ s a ‘say it like it is,’ kid who is quirky and smart. She is also a loyal friend to my daughter and I think they’re a great pair. I don’t mind if she forgets to say ‘please’ or ‘thank you’, it happens sometimes.
But, what I really struggle with… what I am honestly starting to develop a deep intolerance for, is the never-ending-process of getting your kid out the door at the end of a playdate. Seriously?! When you arrive and it’s time to pick up your child. End it. MAKE. IT. END!
Picking up your kid from a classmate’s home, should not take any more than 5 or so minutes. 10 at the absolute most! It should look something like this: Door opens. Quick hello/chat. Kid’s coat goes on. Kid’s shoes go on. Hugs are given. Thank yous & Goodbyes are spoken. Door closes. Done.
But whenever either of you arrive at our place to collect your daughter, the process is extremely drawn out. I open the door, say: “Hello” and then shout: “So and so, your mom/dad’s here!” At which point, your kid goes and hides behind the couch, or she runs back up the stairs to get away from you. Usually this leads to you taking off your shoes, and walking further into our house at which point you call out to your child as she giggles and runs away from you.
This whole production is awkward, for both of us. I feel like I want to help you get her out the door but I don’t want to overstep or come across as a dick. Also, sometimes I’m in the middle of something when you arrive. Maybe I have food on the stove. Maybe I’m partway through a work assignment that I can’t get back to because I’m making small-talk with you for forty-five minutes, while your child runs wild.
THIS is my problem. THIS is why I am reluctant to have your child over to our home. It’s the lengthy and time consuming process of getting your kid out the door!
If you are not sure how to make it happen, try the following:
- Tell your child if she can’t exit a playdate quickly, and politely, then she doesn’t get to come back.
- Tell her that her behaviour is rude and inappropriate for a 9-year-old.
- Explain to her what you expect to see at the end of the next play date.
- Tell her you expect better next time, if there is a next time….
The following week, do this:
- Lie to your child and say we called to invite her back for a playdate (even though we didn’t).
- Tell her that you’re sorry BUT you had to say NO because of her behaviour the last time.
- Remind her what this behaviour was.
- If she does get invited to a playdate again, please (for the sake of your daughter’s social life) review basic manners and what needs to happen when it’s time to say goodbye.
I don’t know about you, parents of my daughter’s school friend who will not likely ever read this, but I feel pretty good having written this letter. And I hope next time, if there is a next time, you can help your daughter do better. After all, if we parents don’t offer guidance to our own kids (on how to behave) other parents just might. Or, even worse, other parents might NOT. They may instead just stop inviting your kid to play.
*Please note, this is a letter to the parents of my daughter’s neurotypical school friend. This is not intended for parents of special needs kids, to whom I would never speak the above words to.*