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Your Kid's Too Dumb for Mine

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Guest Blogger Erin: When it comes to playdates, kids should at least be on a level playing field.

As a relatively new parent, I'm just getting into the whole playdate scene. Recently, I met a mom who invited me and my daughter to come to her house for a playdate with her three-year-old. I agreed, and one Sunday my two-year-old and I made the trek to her house.

When she introduced her daughter to mine, I could already tell that her kid wasn't exactly the "sharpest tool in the shed." She only talked a little bit of baby talk -- possibly because, to my horror, her mom spoke to her in a grating sing-song voice. My daughter, on the other hand, is quite talkative and sociable -- often speaking in complete sentences. The other girl, although almost a year old than mine, acted like a child half her age.

The playdate host and I attempted to get our kids acquainted. My daughter tried as well. She asked her kindly, "What's your name?" and pointed out items in her yard, "You have a slide!" The other little girl just stared at her blankly. Finally, my kid just gave up and began playing with toys. I felt awkward, but the mom didn't seem to acknowledge the huge gap in our kids' development.

A couple hours went by, and the two barely interacted. My daughter attempted to initiate a game or two but the other girl preferred to play with toys my daughter had grown out of long ago. Finally, I hinted it was time for us to leave. The mom enthusiastically said, "Let's do this again!"

Um, how about no?

Personally, I think a playdate should be an enriching experience for my child. Letting her spend the day with someone not nearly at her intellectual level isn't going to be beneficial to her. It's like trying to improve your tennis game by playing against a crappy player. What's the point of that?

What would you do in this situation? Tell us your opinion in the momlogic community

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65 comments so far | Post a comment now
Shellai October 21, 2008, 11:36 AM

So I kind of agree but disagree. The only kids that I do not like my kids play dating with are soild kids that walk over there parents.
I wouldn’t want my kids to walk over me and well that’s just not going to happen. But other than all that I do not hold them back with other play dates with kids that are less advanced. I like to think that most kids can offer something to another kid. Even if it’s just a laugh. Lighten up people, their just kids!

Sky October 21, 2008, 12:33 PM

Are you serious? What a fine example you are setting for your daughter. Sheesh…some parents.

mom 5 October 21, 2008, 1:01 PM

i to disagree with erin. a paly date is so kids can play together and learn from one and other.alos for the moms to get to know each other. my granddughter is 3 1/2 she love to play with smaller kids and big kids. she tries to show the little one how to do things and when she’s with the older kid she learns thing that the way things go. i to think your a sonb.don’t teach your little girl to be that way it’s not nice.and you don’t get many friends being that way.

amorporte October 21, 2008, 2:00 PM

Well first of all I’m a mother of 4 girls and I come from a big family. I had read that someone said that if a child who is lets say 5 will mimic a child who is 3 and start to talk as they do I think that is so wrong of you to say that, my children are ages 11,9,7,6. And my nieces and nephews ages are 10,8,6,4,3,2,1. They all get along great and not once have i ever seen the older kids talk like the babys! When my oldest daughter was 2 she already new how to say her abc’s and say her numbers up to 10 and i also taught her to say them in spanish. Just to let you know I was a stay at home mom and I loved teaching them new things. Well any ways my husband’s cousin had a son who was 4 at the time and he was a very slow learner but the thing is I did not blame the child or think that my daughter was to smart to play with him. I think some parents just don’t care enough or have enough time to teach the child things. But what we did was we started teaching him all the stuff my daughter already new she was the one teaching him everything I had tought her. My kids are very loving to younger kids cause I raised them to always love a child no matter there age or how they are able to speak, or if they have any learning disabilities, and if they have trouble learning something my kids are always there ready to teach them. My kids love to be able to help them say there abc’s or just have them learn how to say cat or dog but the thing is that you lead by example if they see you do onto others they will learn the same way to. If this was the first playdate you went on you have to give it a few more trys some kids are just shy at first and then they open up maybe next time instead of being at a house go to a park kids always losen up there cause there able to run around and chase each other. But please teach your daughter to teach and not to learn how to put people down! Watch the movie Mean Girls you don’t want her to be like one of them I myself have 4 Girls and I teach them to respect everyone no matter what.

Gloria October 21, 2008, 2:08 PM

It is obvious that your child did not really hit it off with this other child. I don’t blame the parent for noticing the differences, there are differences aren’t there? or do they just disappear because we are adults and would like to pretend there aren’t differences. Unfortunately, the two didn’t click, so whats to do? Don’t make as many play dates, don’t alienate either child, but continue to make acquaintances until you find someone with both you and your child can have favorable interaction.

Sharon October 21, 2008, 2:15 PM

LOL Mean Girls…great movie.
Maybe the people who are in charge here at Momlogic should watch it. ;-)

Anonymous October 21, 2008, 2:21 PM

Seriously??? I have to agree with the majority here.This is a child you are talking about!

Relax October 21, 2008, 2:28 PM

This would be an entirely different story if the kids got along and the mom wrote it. but the kids didn’t even play together so who cares. If the mom said the kids had a great time together but she preferred her kid didn’t hang out with the other — not as smart kid — then you got something.

Megan October 21, 2008, 4:53 PM

I have two boys. My oldest son is four and a half and has a severe form of Cerebral Palsy. He is smart but doesn’t speak. He uses sign language. He plays with immature toys. He can’t do things other kids can do. He is in a wheelchair.

My youngerst is 3 and AUTISTIC. He has strenghts and weaknesses. He LOVES to play with kids though he doesn’t always do so appropriately. My three year old is smart but has trouble with communication and proper socialization. He does not hit or tantrum unless there is a issue and I take care of it. His tantrums are not that far out of line from your average two or three year old.

So if your daughter came over I would hope you could show her that kids are all different and special in their own way. You could take the opportunity to explain why my kids do what they do. If she saw any innapropriate behavior you could explain why it isn’t ok.

I am sure the mom noticed the kids were different. Playdates not only give kids a chance to socialize, they also allow mom to meet people. If all you took from it was how your daughter didn’t gain anything..I feel sorry for you.

It would be great for your daughter to be around kids her level or higher as well. What if their parents think your daughter is too “stupid” for their playdate?

Try walking in another mother’s/child’s shoes.

Any pediatrician will tell you children develop differenty at their own pace. Some kids are slower in some areas and need help…FROM THIER PEERS, parents, and educators.

momoftwo October 21, 2008, 5:58 PM

Playdates are not tennis games. Your child will play with children of all different levels, and yes, you will notice it through preschool, elementary school and so on. Her friends will be smart, not smart, athletic, not, musical, not. Hopefully she will not require a homogeneous group who only have exactly the same interests and levels, because it’s the differences that enrich our lives. Children of 2 and 3 often parallel play anyway, and they are learning the beginnings of social interaction. This new little girl may warm up to your daughter and play more and more. Or she may not. I think you are a little overinvolved in your kid’s life already if you are trying to arrange intellectual equality in playdates, and I really mean that kindly. It will do you no end of good to back off a bit on the control and let your daughter have fun in all different situations. It will do her no end of good, too. It’s not like they have to be best friends and play every day.

Sandra Deffner  October 21, 2008, 7:47 PM

this woman probably doesn’t let her child play with kids that aren’t wearing designer clothing either …. I bet she lives in my town its full of snotty kids and the mothers that are teaching them to be that way …. I refuse to teach my child that she is better than anyone … I will teach her to be the best person she can be but not at the cost of putting other people down or doing inappropriate things to be good at what she is doing …I pray that my child is able to learn from others as well as teach others …

renee October 21, 2008, 10:43 PM

What a joke! It really is such a sad situation. I feel very sorry for her highly intelligent three year old. I hope she can pay for the very expensive therapist she will need later when she has no friends to speak of .

Katie October 22, 2008, 6:52 PM

How would you feel if the situation was reversed? As a teacher I know that although children develop at roughly the same pace some may be a bit more behind or advanced than others. Maybe the child was shy or picked up on your negative attitude towards her. Your daughter could definitely benefit from another play date with this girl. Play doesn’t always have to be about furthering your intellect, it can be about just having fun or learning to share and cooperate with others, even just experimenting with objects. It could be an opportunity to help your daughter develop values and moral reasoning. Interactions with other children help her learn how to treat and relate to others. Play doesn’t always have to involve tons of interaction between children. Besides two and three year olds more frequently engage in solitary play than older preschoolers who engage in parallel, associative, and cooperative play more often. Children need a wide variety of experiences with many different people to learn and grow to their fullest capacity. Do you realize the expectations and judgments you are putting on this little girl, as well as your daughter? They are two and three years old!!! Don’t you think it’s a bit ridiculous? They should be playing and having fun, not worrying about how smart they are in relation to others or worrying about what someone else thinks of them; besides there will be enough time for that later… it’s called high school. If you are sending the message to your daughter that she is smarter or better than others she will pick up on it, and if she begins to act accordingly she probably won’t be too popular with her future schoolmates. Instead of focusing on how “spending the day with someone not nearly at her intellectual level isn’t going to be beneficial to her,” maybe you should be helping your daughter develop her social/emotional skills. Which it sounds like you could also benefit from as well. If you chose to not set up another play date I don’t think the child or mother will miss you, your judgment or your condescending thoughts. The girl could even immensely benefit from your lack of presence (but not necessarily your daughters) and actually develop a self esteem. And while you’re at it maybe you should research child development so you know what you are talking about before you go ripping down little ones to build yours up.

Victoria October 22, 2008, 7:44 PM

I give you credit, first of all, for asking others for their opinion. Looks like you’ve asked alot of wolves, not moms! :-) I totally agree with wanting to have “edifying” playtimes for your child, but the other mom probably did too. My son is 3 and he plays with 4 year old kids and older kids. Their moms don’t keep them away because my son is only 3. I value that because my son learns alot from the older kids. And he plays with other 3 year olds who may not be as far along in development as he is, and kids who are younger than he is. But it’s neat to see him trying to teach them things….like an older brother. I think kids benefit from being around older AND younger kids. They are sponges and will learn anything new that they encounter. Don’t keep your child from playing with that child. Maybe you can show them a game to teach the other kid so next time they have the play date, they interact more. Good luck!

anon October 22, 2008, 8:30 PM

I have a masters in teaching. Kids don’t really play with each other as much as play the same thing next to each other until they are older. Until about four, even though they can both be playing with cars, they are not playing cars together.

Leigh October 23, 2008, 9:32 PM

I will agree that parents that baby-talk to their preschool aged children irk me. BUT…

Erin, how would it make you feel if when your child is older, a mother doesn’t want her child around yours because she maybe doesn’t excel at say, science, or algebra, or who knows what. What if a mom doesn’t want her child around yours because she can’t play volleyball as well, or weighs more than her kids. Because she thinks that your child will not be a beneficial influence. You will be heartbroken, offended and hurt, I bet. Saying that a woman’s 3-year-old child is not the sharpest tool in the shed is disgusting, and reflects more on you as a mother than it does on that child.

You lack perspective, and it is sad to me that you’ll have to gain that perspective the day that someone treats you and your daughter the way you are treating this family. Your daughter deserves better.

Leigh October 23, 2008, 9:36 PM

And MomLogic, this is the last time I’ll be here.

You posting pieces like this, with complete disregard to the feelings of mothers who may have developmentally delayed children and how reading that because a 3-year-old that isn’t speaking to this woman’s standards are not the “Sharpest tools in the shed” will make women feel is revolting.

I’ll also be contacting your sponsors. That’s the only way I can vote, by not giving you page impressions, and letting your sponsors know just what they’re supporting.

Yolanda October 23, 2008, 10:39 PM

Leigh are you kidding? Where in the post does the mom say the child is developmentally delayed? It just says he didn’t seem to bright—
Sorry but some kids are just not as smart as others. While I think this mom isn’t exactly the kind of person I’d be friends her piece is about a kid that’s not as smart apparently as her brainy sprog. Don’t worry sister, she’ll get hers.
plus it didn’t like the kids had fun together anyway so who cares??

Desirai October 24, 2008, 1:33 PM

I agree, you are a snob who thinks there better than everyone else. Every child develops differently, some faster than others. That child could benefit from playdates with your daughter. And im sure your daughter isnt perfect, so stop acting like she is.

Holly October 29, 2008, 12:39 PM

I finally get a chance to share this story so please bear with me.
My daughter is now 17, but, when she was 4, this little girl came to the park she and a lot of other children played at. She was playing in the sand with a boy her age, and this little blonde angel walked over to them to watch. Her mom, froze.
Because her daughter was born with downs syndrome. Children and parents routinely made her and her mom feel unwelcome .
But, not my daughter and her little friend.
They stopped playing, walked over to the girl and helped her into the sand box. Then they handed her some toys, even showing her what to do with them.
Her mom, a shy woman from a reserve, was astounded.
She and her daughter were in town because her daughter was due to get surgery on her heart. Like some downs babies, she was born with a congenital heart defect, and was now old enough to get the surgery.
Some of us moms got to know her and her story over the next week before the surgery, and we all flocked to the hospital the day of for support. She was grateful, and we were just happy to be allowed to be part of it to support her in something no parent or child should have to endure.
I was blessed with a child who did everything ahead of schedule, and who is extremely bright and sociable. I raised her to treat everyone the same.
I can honestly say, I have never been more proud of her and her friends than that day when they welcomed a child vastly different in some ways, but the same in that she is a child, and worthy of love and friendship.
I understand the womans point of view in the article, but I don’t agree.
Thanks for letting me share my story.

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