When You Don't Like Your Kids' Friends' Parents

Filed under: Opinions

Two women chatting in an outdoor coffee shop.

Not all your kids' friends will have parents you'll want to be friends with. Image: sxc.hu

As parents, part of our job is to help our kids make friends. But what happens when your child makes friends with someone and you can't stand the parents? Are you obligated to socialize with them -- or even to let your child continue the friendship? It's hard to know where to draw the line when it comes to making friends with other parents. Are we obligated to socialize with our kids' friends' parents if we don't like them? And what is it about that other parent that rubs us the wrong way?

Sometimes the issue is that other parents have different rules. "My daughter spent the night" at her friend's house, says mom Julia, "and she and her friend went out for chips at midnight. If I had pre-teen kids spending the night, I'd have a pretty good idea where they were at all times, but the friend's mother didn't seem to care." But a difference about curfew wasn't the only reason that Julia wasn't interested in being friends with this other mother. "This mom was also known around school for yelling at teachers who dared to say her daughter had done something wrong. Basically, she was crazy."

So how did Julia handle the issue? She came up with reasons why her daughter was not allowed to go to the friend's house. "I didn't exactly lie; I just sort of bent the truth a little. I told my daughter she was allergic to her friend's dog so she couldn't go to her house anymore. Okay, so maybe that is a lie," she admits. But who can blame her?

Sometimes our kids' friends' parents just rub us the wrong way. Leslie's daughter wanted to have a classmate over to play; when Leslie extended the invitation, the girl's mother asked about guns in the house -- a reasonable inquiry. However, "I didn't like the way she posed the question," explained Leslie. "She said 'I have to ask this' and then asked if we had any guns almost as if she thought the answer would be yes. So we didn't have the girl over."

It seems that the kids are often the ones to lose out when their parents don't get along. I have a friend whose daughters are about the same ages as my older two. I even have photos of my son walking through the mall hand-in-hand with her older daughter. But then I found out she voted yes on California's proposition 8 (which took away the right to marry for some citizens). Now I find it difficult to talk to her, let alone allow my kids to spend time with her daughters.

I'm not sure there's a good solution to the problem of dealing with parents you don't like. Sometimes, you can put up with people for the sake of the kids and other times, it's just too much to ask.

Have you ever had to deal with a parent you really didn't like? Have you ever told your child they couldn't play with another child because of the other child's parent? How would you handle a situation like these?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.