PARENTING SCHOOLING

So You and Your Friend’s Kids Aren’t Friends?

5 min read
So You and Your Friend’s Kids Aren’t Friends?

Kids change ‘besties’ as often as they change their undies; one day so-and-so is in favour and the next day, whats-his-name is the new BFF.

I can barely keep up with my Miss (almost) 7; she pledges her friendship like a valuable commodity to whoever has been particularly nice that day, whoever has shared their icecream from the canteen or whoever did the best bendback on the oval at lunch. As kids get older they tend to get a bit more picky about their friends and may choose to not hang out with those which they have in the past.

This can cause all kinds of issues for parents, especially when one child is particularly hurt by the friendship ‘running it’s course’, and can adversely affect the friendship between both sets of parents, particularly Mums.

With three school-aged kids, I’ve seen my fair share of my kids friendships come and go, started and finished by the most trivial of occurrences. I’ve had mothers ring me countless times to ‘discuss’ what has happened between our kids.

It blows my mind how involved some parents get in their child’s social lives. However, I can understand the need for clarification and justification, SOMETIMES. But after years of sleepless nights worrying about the impact my child’s friends choices and behaviours might have on their future social standings (um, pretty much nothing!)

I have come up with a strategy.

  • If my kid has never spoken of you in my home, never been to your house and I don’t know you from a bar of soap, I let the school deal with it.
  • If I have met you, our kids have played together and you know where I live, I’ll probably chat to you about any issues our kids are having if you bale me up in the playground.
  • If my child has slept the night in your home, we have socialised outside of school with our families, we have had coffee as women (not mothers), you are my friend on Facebook and I know the name of your dog, then I will sit down and work out why our kids no longer are socially compatible and try to work it out.
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Case in point:

I have a really close friend and our boys are the same age. When we first met, they were really good mates, however their personalities simply are so similar, they clash….SPECTACULARLY!

I’m talking shouting abuse on the footy oval (even though they are on the same team!), teasing each other at school, cant-let-them-in-the-same-backyard kind of shit. My friend and I took the angle of ‘boys will be boys’ and left it at that. Now, I’m like a mother lion with my kid. However, I know my son can be a right little arsehole. I have told him numerous times that I have his back, until he either bullies someone or lies to me, and then I’m out.

So now these two boys are coming home with the exact same stories, with opposite victims and offenders mind you, and it’s hard for both my friend and I not to get defensive of our own sons and angry at the other kid.

It affects our friendship in that we don’t catch up as much because the boys don’t get along, but we are lucky we have kept the lines of communication open about it. I know we’ll be friends for a long time and the boys will either work it out, grow out of it, get over it or become the very best of mates again.

But another friend of mine (for the sake of sanity, lets call her Lola – I love that name!) has the same issue, however her friend has backed away. The son’s have had altercations at school and problems in the classroom, and initially Lola’s son took the brunt of the blame and she was cool with that (as she also has been blessed with a sporadically ratbag-ish boy-child!) but now the other mum, who Lola considered a close friend, has backed away.

She doesn’t return texts or phone calls, invitations are declined and catch-ups have been cancelled, and Lola is devastated.

You can’t force a friendship with anyone, but surely some friendships are worth holding onto, regardless if your children aren’t compatible in the personality department?

How to stay friends when your kids break up | Stay at Home Mum.com.au

 

As adults, we aren’t expected to maintain relationships with people we find that we just don’t get along with, so our children should not be either. Granted our kids will change over time and these damaged friendships may be reconciled, but surely, as parents, our job is to teach our kids about valuing friendships and respecting those we may have differences with enough to just stay away?

The only advice I can offer, as a parent who has experienced the best and worst side of both their own child and others in their friendships, is to keep communication lines open with other parents whose friendships you value.

Recognise that although it is an inbuilt instinct to defend and protect your own child, that the other parent is only doing the same and that your child just may be the instigator of the bad behaviour. Be a parent, not a pal, and you may be able to hold onto your own when your kids are struggling to learn life’s lessons when it comes to friends!

Have you had the same experience? What are your tips?

So You and Your Friend's Kids Aren't Friends? | Stay at Home Mum

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