Kubla invites a friend to our home after school. They have a great time. I don’t.
His friend is disrespectful. He doesn’t listen. He’s loud. He makes a mess.
His mom comes to pick him up. He doesn’t listen to her either. I tell him if he’s not out the door in 15 seconds he’s not welcome in our house again. He ignores me.
The next day they want another playdate.
“I told you yesterday. You guys can play together in the playground, but you can’t come to our house anymore.”
I stick to my guns. They play in the park for a while. Kubla finds another boy to take home. He’s delightful.
Another day. They ask if they can play at the friend’s house instead. I’m not thrilled, but I respect their creativity to bend my rules. A couple hours later I pick Kubla up at their house.
The mom says, “The boys had a great time. Kubla was so easy. He is welcome back any time.”
On the walk back, I say, “Kubla, did you hear what your friend’s mom said?”
“She said I’m welcome back any time”
“Why do you think she said that?”
“Because I listened. And cleaned up. And made things easy.”
“Did I tell your friend that he is welcome back at our house any time?”
“No, you said he can never come back.”
“Why do you think I said that?”
“Because he didn’t listen to anything and made things hard for you.”
“Always act like you want to be invited back.”
A couple months later, Kubla and this boy are at day camp together. Kubla asks if I will give the boy a second chance. Not wanting to condemn a child to life without parole, I invite him back to our house. On the walk home, I ask the friend if he remembers what happened last time. I ask him what he thinks he needs to do to avoid banishment. I can’t say it was my favorite play date of all time, but not so bad.
What does a kid have to do to be welcomed with open arms in your home? What do you do if they don’t do those things?
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