It’s only natural to want to be chummy with the parents of your kids’ friends, especially if your child spends a lot of time with her little pal. But just because the wee ones enjoy each other’s company doesn’t mean the moms and dads have to. (Of course, until your kid starts having playdates at friends’ homes without you needing to tag along, you’ll have to at least be cordial.)
“It’s your job to make sure your kid is safe in another parent’s presence and home,” says family therapist Joanna Seidel. “But parents don’t have to have an active relationship with their kids’ friends’ parents.”
More from Today's Parent
- When playdates go bad
- What to do if time outs aren't working
- How to tell if you're overindulging your child and how to put a stop to it
- Everything I needed to know about marriage...I learned from parenting
- Earlier, faster, better: precocious kids
The good news is that there are gracious ways to get around being BFFs with your kid’s BFF’s parents. Here’s how.
It’s about the kids
Maybe you can’t stand Noah’s dad because he’s arrogant and opinionated, or Ava’s mom gets under your skin because her politics are anathema to you and she’s forever flirting with your husband. If the reasons you don’t like the other parents are like these — pretty benign in the grand scheme of things — let the kids be buddies and just steer clear of the parents as much as possible. “It’s important to put your feelings of dislike on the back burner so your child can develop an independent, healthy relationship with their friend without your interference and judgment,” Seidel says.
Kathy Eugster, a child and family counsellor, agrees that it’s sometimes best for parents to let their kids form a bond with other kids, regardless of whether or not the adults in the family rub you the wrong way. If you’re consistently dodging dinner invitations, or you screen calls to avoid awkward conversations, Eugster says parents can tactfully set boundaries around interaction with the other adult, such as limiting phone calls. “If the mom calls you and wants to chat, tell her: ‘I’m really busy for the next few weeks so I won’t be able to talk. I’ll call you when I’m not as busy.’” Hopefully she’ll eventually get the hint.
(Of course, if you dislike another parent because of real safety issues, such as drug or alcohol abuse in the home, it’s best to remove both yourself and your child from the relationship, and think about contacting authorities on behalf of your kid’s friend if you’re really concerned).
Read on: Practise what you preach & and how to set limits>
Connect with Today's Parent: