Published on August 10, 2016 inParenting on LandOMoms.com
So your kid has a bestie, and they’re a great kid, really. But their mom or dad? Not so much. Problem is, you can’t exactly avoid this person without costing your kid time with their friend, even though you dread the frequent run-ins.
Still, though, this parent is unpleasant bordering on intolerable. How do you deal? Do you forbid your child from playing with the friend? Not going to happen if your kid has any say in the matter. And it’s not exactly fair of you to end that friendship anyways. It’s your kid’s friendship, not yours.
If the reason you don’t like the parent is because of a personality trait or a point of view, try to be the better person. Take the high road. If the reason you dislike the parent is because of a moral issue or the way they parent, that’s a different story.
But ultimately, unless they’re putting your kid in danger, you probably still need to take the high road. Which is so, so, SO much easier said than done. I’ve got some tips to help you be the bigger person.
1. Keep the Kids First
Maybe you get beyond annoyed every time Ethan’s mom talks about how she is the best parent. Maybe the way Allie’s dad talks about how his hometown is so much better than this one really drives you up the wall. Whatever the reason, remember it’s not about you. It’s about your kid.
If you stop accepting playdates because you don’t want to see the parents, you hurt your kid. As long as the friend is nice, you kind of have to find common ground here.
2. Drop Some Hints
If the mom keeps calling you to chat or wants to hang out during playdates, you have every right to deny her. Just be nice – your kid is watching you. “I can drop Ben off at your house, but I won’t be able to stay. I have to run a few errands.” “Do you want to drop Jack off at our house, and I will get some work done while they play?” If you keep this up, the parent will get the hint. And if they don’t, hey, at least you tried.
3. Be THE Hangout House
This summer, I sat down with our son and explained to him that I dislike the way his friend’s mom talks to her kids. She constantly talks about weight and appearance (to the extreme), and I didn’t want him around that. I did NOT badmouth the parent in front of my son (don’t you know that these things are contagious?), but I did talk to him about how it isn’t what I want him to hear.
For this reason, we’ve started calling our house “the hangout house.” That means that when this friend wants to play, they are invited to our house or a public place, like the movies or a park. Sure, that gives me the responsibility of watching our son’s friend, but it’s worth it to me to keep my son away from body-shaming language.
4. Kid, Phone Home
If your kid goes to the parent’s home for a playdate, give him a phone to take. Ask him to get on the family’s Wi-Fi so you can easily communicate. This helps you keep the I-am-coming-in-10-minutes conversation to a minimum. Because this parent is probably the type to talk your ear off for 45 minutes, given the chance. So don’t give them the chance.
I just text my son a quick “How’s it going?” or “Start cleaning up. I’m headed your way. Meet me on the front porch.” Now I can get away with just a “Thank you!” and a quick wave, without ever getting out of my car.
5. Trust Your Gut
You know that as moms we have a sixth sense, right? Trust it! If something feels off (not just annoying) or unsafe, don’t let your child in their home or in their care. Know what you know and go with it. Trust that mom instinct.
The thing about the high road is it’s also the road less traveled. Just remember that the cost of getting lippy with another parent is a kid that does the same. Probably to you. Not worth it, am I right?