Sunday, July 31, 2011

Limit Setting - with the Moms!

So my neighbor, we'll call her "Mimi," related a story of a playdate she had recently: Two or three other moms were over with their 3-year-olds. One, "Luke," became interested in a set of toy soldiers that Mimi had been keeping together in the box until her own 3-year-old was old enough to play with them properly.

Luke wanted to open the box, so Mimi opened the box against her better judgement. Luke played with the toys and when it was time to go home, he wanted to bring one soldier with him. Mimi wasn't very happy about breaking up the set, but Luke's mom said, "Can't he just bring it home with him?" Apparently, the other moms all laughed at Mimi not wanting to let Luke take the toy, and so Mimi just let Luke bring the toy back home with him, presumably never to be seen again.

So what do you think about all this?

Since I didn't really say anything to Mimi at the time (what could I say?), I will sound off here. Me, I think it is crazy.

Obviously, Luke's mom thought she was good enough friends with Mimi to ask to bring the toy soldier home, and she was clearly hoping to avoid a tantrum from Luke.

But it sounds like a classic case of bullying - on Luke's mom's part! Bullies know they can get their way because polite people, like Mimi, won't cause a scene or protest more than a tiny bit. And what was up with the other moms, who didn't just keep their mouths shut and stay out of the discussion, but actively mocked Mimi?

Finally, and I really do hate to comment on how other people raise their kids (because I wouldn't be interested in anyone's commentary on how I raise my kids), but isn't there an issue here about setting limits? Shouldn't she have told Luke, "No, it's time to go now, and this toy belongs to your friend so say goodbye to it"?

Okay I wasn't there, so I can't say exactly what happened (and I've changed a couple of details for this post). But all in all, I think it was a terrible lesson for little Luke, all the children, and even the moms too.

What do you think?


  1. I am FIRED UP with all caps!!
    Jules I am totally with you on this one. Mimi shouldn't have opened the toy in the first place. I would never do that even for a good friends kid. And if they wanted to take it home I would say no way. If the parent asked I would say "hellz no. buy your kid one." even if it is to prevent a meltdown and the parent was insistent I would say NO.

    It is just like you said - there is totally an issue to setting limits with this kid. Now this kid thinks he can get anything he wants!! Just has to threaten a meltdown...he has his mother wrapped around his finger, andshe seems to not care and be a total sucker.

    FIRED UP! :)

  2. This is horrible.

    If all the other moms just laughed at Mimi for not wanting to let Luke take the toy home, maybe she should find some new play date friends. (She can come play with me!)

    And if Luke has his mom wrapped around his finger, playing with them is just going to be a nightmare in the future. If Luke comes over again, he needs to understand and follow the rules in Mimi's house. And Mimi definitely needs to stand her ground, not least because she is modeling behaviors for her little boy.

  3. Good lord. Who are these moms? Do they live in the real world? I suppose they want to 'take home' my car? My husband? Ridiculous!