Help with playdate requests from families I don't know!

Stacey - posted on 09/05/2010 ( 14 moms have responded )

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My daughter is 9 and in 4th grade. She received a call from a girl (who is 10 and in 5th) to get together and play at her house. They met in a summer camp this past summer. I know NOTHING about them or their family and while they don't live far (about 15 minutes away) they are not in our neighborhood or community. My daughter has talked about the girl and I think they have emailed a few times but I am hesitant and uncomfortable with just bringing her there. At the same time, I feel silly making plans "as a whole family" to check them out 1st. And if I invite the girl here instead, will I insult them or if they are ok with it, does that indicate that they are too loose with parenting to allow their daughter here when they don't know us. This is truly the first time we have encountered this scenario and I am sure it won't be the last as kids get older. Any advice?

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Melanie - posted on 09/09/2010

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I've done this before. When invited, say something like "yes *we* can come over for a short play date but *we* have to be somewhere later." Make sure to emphasize the *we* meaning you and your child. You stay there the entire time, up to an hour, then look at your watch and say okay time to go to gma's, or whatever. And if you're comfortable with it, on your way out, make a date in the future to drop your child off for a longer playdate without you.

Clare - posted on 09/05/2010

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Hi, I don't blame you for being cautious at all.....At the same time it needs to be balanced i am exactly the same with my childrens friends families but at the end of the day it's gonna be a fact that some we like and some we don't lol. My advise would be to talk to the mother and tell her that although you do not want to cause offence it would be nice if you could take your daughter there for a play date and maybe stay a while to set your mind at rest. That is exactly what i do and honesty goes down very well (Usually) you will proberly find they feel the same way you do but not sure how to approach it. When all is said and done it shows we care about our childrens well being and safety. Hope this helps xx

Tanya - posted on 09/08/2010

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I'm not really sure what you are uncomfortable with. You never met the people is the only thing I am getting. You have never had a "bad" interaction with them, you haven't heard bad things about them so take her to drop her off when she goes over to play get down and talk with the parent/s for a while and then come back and pick your daughter up, ask her how it went and what they did and then she can invite her friend over to your house. I bet your daughter is a wise young lady and I believe in teaching my children about what to do in bad situations. It is hard to have friends outside of school now a days kids don't play outside like they used to parents aren't comfortable with letting them go outside and play yes there are bad things out there but we need to remember what our parents taught us and we learned how to be careful not fearfull I teach my children the samething. I teach them what they should do in certain situtations and I trust they are smart children I love my children no less than any other mother I just would like them to have a childhood and enjoy having friends some of my best memories of childhood is playing over at friends houses and them coming to mine and us just being kids and having fun. Let your daughter go to her friends.

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It happened to me. My 14 year old asked if a friend could stay over. I asked for her parents details and called them to se if it was okay. They said fine. It wasnt until the next morning when I find out off my daughter that they had never actually met in person before just online. This girl could have been anyone. I am glad that I called and spoke to the parents though and when her Mum picked her up I explained that they had never met before and her Mum was as shocked as I was. In saying that kids do develop a wider cirlce of friends now adays with there out of school activities and although we may not know the parents all it takes is a call.

Shawna - posted on 09/13/2010

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My solution in the past was common ground. I never feel comfortable sending my young child home with a family I know nothing about, and I do not expect them to send their child home with me, not knowing my family either. My solution was meeting somewhere after school. McDonalds or the park worked for us. This way the kids could play and talk, and we adults could talk as well. Finding out an amazing amount of info.

This doesn't work well with my older children anymore. Now my stand is any of your friends are welcome to come over here but you will not be allowed to go with people I don't know well enough. I hope at least part of my experience has help you at least a little bit.

Kathleen - posted on 09/13/2010

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I would definitely tag along - call the mom first and let her know that you would like to have a chance to meet her - I have done that many times and have actually ended up making some good friends that way! Good luck!

Michelle - posted on 09/10/2010

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I agree with some of the other posters about going with your child to the playdate and either staying the whole time or a little while or just meeting somewhere else. That is what I do with my son's friends I have never met much less heard of.

There is no reason not to be cautious. I know when I was in grade school, I went to a sleep over with a friend and my parents didn't know the parents, but figured out they were alright and seemed normal. Nope, they were drug dealers and dealing during the sleepover. We couldn't leave bedroom. Also, you might not like how someone keeps the house ( I know seems weird, but I personally don't want my kids somewhere where it isn't safe), and/or you might not agree with how they watch the children, parent, whatever. The only way to find out some of this is to meet the parents or parent and child.

[deleted account]

I believe you have good reason to feel uncomfortable. And don't worry about offending the parents. If my child invited another child over to play & the child's parent said they were uncomfortable & wanted to tag along I would not be offended. I would feel the same way & totally understand. My neighbors have a son & a daughter. They both play here with my boys & their father is good friends with my hubby. Yet I will not let my children go to their house & they will not let their children come inside my house. I am not offended by this. They have their reason's & so do I. You should meet them or go there & your first instinct will probably be right & you will know if it's ok or not. And like Nyssa said you may want to find out what their rules are, they may allow your child to do things you don't. You are your child's advocate, you protect her from things she can't understand. Nothing wrong with that :)

Nyssa - posted on 09/09/2010

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I feel uncomfortable just letting my children go over to a friends house if I haven't atleast talked to the parents. There have been times when the friend would call my child and I would ask to speak to the parent, and they wouldn't talk to me. Once, I could actually hear the father telling his son that he didn't feel good. That really made me not want my son to go over. I don't feel comfortable with that. Just because the kid says my child can be over there I still want to talk to the parent. It's not a bad idea to just go over some basic things with the parents. Maybe find out what some of their rules are. It might help put you at ease.

Krissi - posted on 09/07/2010

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You would be amazed at how many parents have dropped their kids off at our house without meeting us first! I was the same way when my girls were younger and I would never let them spend the night at someone's house I had never met or had never heard of before. For the first visit, maybe she can come to your house or you can take your daughter over there for a short playdate- maybe a couple of hours and then come back and pick her up and see how it went. Then if all is well then next time can be longer. Hope this helps.

Krissi
Work from home green Mom of 3

Katey - posted on 09/07/2010

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I really agree with Clare on this one. I've found that most parents struggle with offending other parents, but you have to worry about your child's well being first! If you truly aren't comfortable (which I wouldn't be either) maybe suggest something like a picnic lunch at the park or go for icecream or something so that the girls could play and you could spend sometime getting to know the parents. Explain to them that you would just feel more comfortable getting to know them before either of your daughters spent time alone with the other parent. Good luck! Hope that it works out!

Sylvia - posted on 09/05/2010

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Unless you know something negative about this family, I don't really understand what the problem is. You could go over there with her, presumably, and spend a few minutes chatting with the other girl's mom, right? Then you'd know them.

That said, if you're really not comfortable sending your DD over there to play, why not suggest meeting up in neutral territory, like a local playground?

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