Playdate gone bad

Posted on: Fri, 06/25/2004 - 7:31am
missingpbmom's picture
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I always thought I was pretty calm and level headed about this subject,but today I lost it. My almost 8 year PN/TN son went on a playdate today to a boy's house who he had been to once before. Everything went fine the first time, so I let him go again. The mom knew how to use the epi-pen and we went over what he could have as a snack. She said they might be at the playground near their house, so when I went to pick up about 15 minutes early...I went straight to the playground. Well, they were there...ALONE. The two kids were there...not a soul around and the mother was no where to be found. I asked the little boy where his mother was and he said oh, she'll be here soon, she had to change my little brother. I was walking the boys back to the house when the mother showed up. I told her that I was very uncomfortable with what she had done. Not only are these children only 8 years old, but my son was there without his epi-pen! I was less than calm when I spoke with her. I told her that she put him in jeopardy and that I couldn't discuss it with her at that moment...then we left. She dropped a note by my house a little while ago apologizing and stating that she never meant to put him in danger. I believe that, but he'll never go over there again. Obviously I'm spoiled...all of the other parents are completely neurotic when he's with them! I guess this is a learning experience...who would have thought you need to tell the parent that they can't leave the child alone!?

Posted on: Fri, 06/25/2004 - 8:42am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

missingpbmom, do you know if the assumption was that if anything happened (not just PA related) that one of the children would get help? Also, how far away from the house is the park?
I had something similar happen this year with my two children (ages 8 and 6) when they went on a play-date with siblings of the same age. My son wears his Epi-belt and I did show the Mom how to use it and I'm fairly sure they never ate any food when they went over (I think the Mom was too scared, which is fine).
My kids went on two or three playdates there.
They loved going because my daughter was good friends with the other girl and they had a hot tub and swimming pool which is greatly lacking in my home [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/rolleyes.gif[/img]
One day my kids came home (the Mom picks them up here and drives them to her house and then brings them back when the playdate is over) and said that they had been playing in a park with the two kids and some other kids, but the Mother had not been there. Of course, then I go into a long list of questions about the park - how far away from the house was it, etc.
It turns out that basically it was behind their house so I guess the Mother *could* watch the children from her back yard. Not saying I felt comfortable with it, but that's what happened.
Then, it comes time for her children to come over to my place for a play-date and they go out and play in the backyard (sans swimming pool and hot tub). The boys made a fort and the girls made a fort. Another boy/girl sibling pair came over to play as well. I'm outside the whole time watching the kids.
When they were still inside figuring out what they were going to do, I decided to make oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. I made sure no one had any allergies and made the cookies.
The kids were outside playing when they were finished baking and I took the cookies out for them to eat while they were playing outside.
The Mom got here to pick her children up and her children take her to see their respective forts. She notices that her son has chocolate on his face and I said that I had made cookies. I swear, honest to God, the kids were not that dirty. They really weren't.
She quickly looked at the forts her children had made with mine and then scurried them into the car calling "the next play date's are our house" after them. I thought, okay, what the he** did I do wrong?
I didn't do anything wrong. Her kids got a bit of dirt on them perhaps, but honestly, I don't even think so. And I sat, in my own back yard to supervise that they were all okay (there are fields behind and beside my house).
If anyone did anything *wrong* in the whole playdate thing that happened with our kids, I still think it was that Mom and her letting children 8 and 6 go to the park, even if it was behind their home, by themselves. Just me. Just my "big city" mentality. And this doesn't even have PA included into the mix (well, my son is PA, but I'm discussing it as a separate *issue*).
Do you feel your son is old enough that he could wear his Epi-belt when he goes on play-dates rather than the Mother (or whoever) having to have it? With the understanding, of course, that he wouldn't be self-injecting, but at least it would be right on him should it be required?
If you can step back and think about the situation, two 8 year olds in a park, alone, without PA involved (even though yes, PA is involved), how do you feel about that situation in and of itself?
Me, I'm not okay with it. But, obviously, that's just me and not the other Mom who my kids had playdates with this year.
How close of a friend is the other child to your son and does your son enjoy this child's company?
I would also look at that and perhaps think about speaking with the Mom and just saying hey, if my child is over at your place, I am NOT okay with him going to the park on his own with your son. Sh** happens. I am not okay with it and this is without even adding his peanut allergy into the mix.
See what she says. She might think that you're extreme, but she might also just respect your wishes. Her child may really like playing with your son.
I'm not saying to let it slide. But I'm just wondering if it is something that could perhaps be talked out when you've settled down (sometimes it takes me awhile to settle down).
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
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Posted on: Sat, 06/26/2004 - 7:06am
StaceyK's picture
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Joined: 05/06/2003 - 09:00

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[This message has been edited by StaceyK (edited October 21, 2004).]

Posted on: Sat, 06/26/2004 - 9:08am
darthcleo's picture
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Joined: 11/08/2000 - 09:00

Weird.
I've let my 6 yo (almost 7) PA kid alone in the park today with a friend of the same age... They were there a big 5 minutes, and it's only 1.5 minutes away from my home on their bike.
Come to think of it, my son didn't have his epipen either, but he's not anaphylactic, and has never needed the epi so far.
I guess it depends on where you live, and what you're used to. And also how trustworthy are your kids.

Posted on: Sat, 06/26/2004 - 9:42am
selketine's picture
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Joined: 04/11/2004 - 09:00

As for the safety of the park I think that totally depends on where you live (peanut issues aside). I live in a good neighborhood in a metropolitan area but our closest playground in next to a large wooded park with bike/jogging trails. A woman was raped/murdered off that trail not too far from the playground in the afternoon a few years back and recently a young woman was pulled back into those woods very close to the playground and there was an attempted rape (she knew the attackers and it was stopped by some who saw her being dragged back there).
Um....no way would I let my son play in that park by himself. I don't even go down there if there aren't other folks around...being next to the woods makes it more dangerous I think.
However in the town where I grew up (small town elsewhere) it was very safe - wouldn't think twice about sending him to that sort of park.
Assuming it is that sort of park - as for the peanut thing - I think the mom just had to step away for a few minutes and wasn't thinking about your son having a contact reaction. Just let her know that your son needs supervision at all times because of that.

Posted on: Sat, 06/26/2004 - 11:26am
AlwaysAvoidAnaphylaxis's picture
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Joined: 06/23/2001 - 09:00

I would have been very upset too. Food allergies or not, I would not let my children play in a park without a family member adult being present. Too many bad things happen and it only takes one second. Even if it is a 'safe' neighborhood, sometimes it is those 'safe neighbors' that you have to worry about.
And there could be peanut residue all over the playground equipment!
And we all know that reactions to food are unpredictable and just because an anaphylactic reaction has not happened before does not mean that the next reaction won't be anaphylactic so we are always prepared for the worst.
Wow. Thanks for sharing.
[This message has been edited by AlwaysAvoidAnaphylaxis (edited June 26, 2004).]

Posted on: Sat, 06/26/2004 - 12:17pm
California Mom's picture
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Joined: 07/14/2000 - 09:00

I would have been really upset, too! I do not think it is O.K. to leave two 8 year olds alone in a park. So many terrible things could have happened.
I'm glad the mom apologized. I hope that you and the other mom will be able patch things up. It is good that she apologized and did not go on the offensive.
Good luck with this one..
Miriam

Posted on: Sat, 06/26/2004 - 1:00pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Could this be a parenting "comfort zone" thing, separate from PA? I'm just asking because of darthcleo's post which was the only one that was different than the rest.
My children were still allowed to go back on one other playdate, I believe, with the Mom who let the kids go to the park on their own. I never mentioned the alone at the park thing to her, probably because of the horrified look she had on her face when she picked her kids up at my house that day. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/redface.gif[/img]
I live in a small city, population 46,000. I also live on a four lane street (highway?).
So, there's a lot of traffic. Now, at the last house I lived in, we were four houses up from a four lane highway that is one of the major highways in Canada. So, if someone picked up a child on that street, they *could* be long gone before anyone noticed and long gone even out of town.
I have a really big backyard but I don't have any windows facing my backyard that I can sit in the house and look out into my backyard to watch the kids while they're playing. I have that two mud room deal instead.
My kids, and I do believe they are responsible and trustworthy, are not allowed to go outside to play, unless both of them are going out and unless the dog is also outside with them. They have also been given very strict instructions about what to do (i.e., start screaming if you have to, but at least run inside) if anyone approaches our property from either direction.
Behind my house is field, then a sub-division. Beside my house is a huge field that then goes into a wooded area.
I am just not okay with my kids out there unless they are together.
One day, Jesse had come in before Ember and Ember was making her way in when she started screaming that there was a man in the backyard. I run out and it's my landlord. She probably scared the poor 82 year old gentleman half to death, but she didn't recognize him and he was in the driveway close to the back door so she couldn't get in the door without passing him.
The other rule we have is that both doors (the outer one and then the one to the second mud room coming in) have to be left open while they're out. I still have the main door to the actual house closed so it's not full of bugs and stuff, but the doors are open so they can get in and get in safely.
I'm talking about my own back yard.
Now, at the last house, it was on a side street which was very quiet and my kitchen window overlooked the backyard. It took me awhile to get a "feel" for the neighbourhood before I decided that it was okay for them to be out there without me being at the kitchen window the whole time. But again, both children had to be together.
Again, for me, I wonder if it's "big city" mentality knowing that in just one split second your child can be gone and yes, raped and murdered.
To counter that, I have just heard from my MIL how my SIL has moved back to Toronto and her three children now go to the local park, which my SIL can see from her apartment balcony, without their Mom. And that's in Toronto. The one daughter has instructions that she has to check in somehow with Mom within a certain time frame. They're going to be 11 and 9 this year.
The Mom who let my kids go with her kids to the park without her, I think she's from the town I live in. And the park is behind her house. But I'm sure if I said to her, hey, I'm not okay with my kids in a park by themselves, she would oblige.
That's why I wouldn't cut off the woman completely. It may just be something that didn't cross her mind for her own children (which has nothing to do with you), but it has crossed your mind re your child and if she apologized and if the child is a good friend or has the potential to be, I wouldn't write them off completely because she dealt with this differently.
He**, now I know if my kids go to darthcleo's house, they can bike to the park without darthcleo, and you know what? I trust her judgement.
That's really why I wouldn't just write the woman off.
Chrikey, I've probably been written off as a playdate Mom because children got a bit dirty, had chocolate oatmeal cookies and got chocolate on their face, made forts (complete with an old paint can used for a vase), and I sat and supervised the whole time, my own back yard.
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
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Posted on: Sat, 06/26/2004 - 1:55pm
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Joined: 12/02/1999 - 09:00

I guess my neighborhood is different from most. Here the kids all play outside all the time. We have a playground 6 doors down and I am perfectly comfortable letting my 7 year old go there with his 8 year old friend. This friend lives at the other end of the block and they also play down there. It dead ends into a field (no woods or even trees) where they go poke sticks at ant hills, throw rocks, and just generally be boys. I do not let my 7 year old play alone outside our own backyard, but as long as he's with a friend and stays on our street, I'm fine with it. My 5 year old DD has to be with her brother if she's outside and I'm not right with her.
There are always many people out and about in our neighborhood - groups of kids playing, adults doing yard work, families walking, etc. We just generally keep an eye on whoever is outside regardless if they're our own kids or not.
Maybe it's because we live in a small town (inside a major metropolitan area) or that our neighborhood has only one way in/out of it and you can't go through our neighborhood to get to anything. Basically the only people down here are the people who live here. Whatever the reason I feel very safe letting my children play in the neighborhood while I'm in and out checking on them and doing housework or whatever.
Rebekah

Posted on: Sat, 06/26/2004 - 11:57pm
missingpbmom's picture
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Joined: 06/23/2004 - 09:00

I appreciate all the feedback. I believe this is primarily a safety issue and not a PA issue...although that adds to it certainly. We also live in a small, metropolitan town where not a lot of bad things happen. I still feel, however that bad things can happen anywhere. This particular park is pretty secluded and could not be seen from the mother's house. If the park could be seen from the house, I wouldn't have a problem with it. I do let my kids walk home from school, ride their bikes around the neighborhood, etc..but I would never allow someone else's children to do that at my house unless I had checked with the parent first. And in this case, I would have told her I wasn't comfortable with it. I have cooled down and will probably see her around town or at the pool, which will be fine. I realize that she doesn't understand the severity of the allergy, so, although I won't let him go there again, I think the boys can still be friends.

Posted on: Sun, 06/27/2004 - 12:25am
darthcleo's picture
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Quote:Originally posted by missingpbmom:
[b]... although I won't let him go there again, I think the boys can still be friends. [/b]
Just be sure you don't punish the kids for something the mother did. It's not like the kids ran away or something.

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