Sunday, June 13, 2010

Should moms be friends with the moms of their kids' friends?

If I wasn't friends with my kids' friends' moms then I wouldn't have any friends. But this is the advice I got recently when my daughter and friends of hers had a falling out. Their moms are my very close friends and when they had a minor disagreement, the wrath between moms escalated into a much bigger one. Emails, phone calls, face to face confrontation. . .it went on for weeks. The girls were over it in a day.

Why did such a minor instance escalate into such major mom drama? I think a lot of it has to do with the sensitivity of the moms to their child's behavior. Everyone thinks their daughter is perfect and any mention of a mistake or meanness on their child's part is not taken well. They get defensive and then angry and then self-righteous. Tough to try to reason with someone in that frame of mind.

But then the other side of the coin is the mom who had the issue to begin with (me!). My daughter was the victim of their child's bullying and suffered for it. But because they never admitted their child did anything wrong ("just kids being kids" and "wouldn't it be awful if all the kids acted the same way?") and never got an apology, I felt angry myself. They flew off the handle and actually got angry with me for speaking up about it. So I apologized. "Sorry, shouldn't have said anything. If I had to do it over again, I wouldn't have brought it up."

Why was I the one apologizing? Shouldn't their daughters apologize to mine? Shouldn't they apologize for over-reacting to my simple statements. . ."hey, guess what happened today. . ." But I never got an apology and it still bothers me. We have gone back to somewhat normalcy in our relationships, but I don't think I'll ever trust or respect those moms again like I did before this happened.

During this drama, a casual friend of mine who is a mom of three older children said to me, "My husband and I agreed a long time ago that we cannot try to be friends with our kids' friends' parents. If their kid does something to yours and you don't want them to socialize anymore, then you have to end the adult friendship too. It just doesn't work."

A few months ago, prior to any of this drama, I probably would have laughed at the idea. My girls will be friends forever with their friends and even if they drift apart I can still be friends with the moms.

Now I'm not so sure.

After a year of my daughter being treated extremely poorly by her BFF and my BFF for the past 8 years not willing to hear it from me, I feel trapped in a fake friendship. I can't talk to her about what's going on in school. When she says "What did you do last night?" I can't tell her that we made a special trip to Borders to buy books on bullying and how to stand up for yourself and then read them when we got home. I used to tell her everything, but now I can't. I can't mention a single instance of what my daughter is going through in class, because it all involves her daughter. And I don't want to hear the excuses and the blame that we are being overly-sensitive.

I'm sorry but if my daughter was purposely shunning hers, I think I would want to know. But she has said to me directly that she never wants to hear again what her daughter did to mine unless physical danger is involved.

So I'm stuck. And now I avoid her calls. I used to call her just about every day, but haven't dialed that number once in a few weeks. What her daughter is doing, hurts me just as much as if she was doing it to me. My husband says I need to just step away from the friendship, but the idea of losing her (taking away all the girl drama) hurts me. And I lose sleep over it every night.

And we do have lots of people who treat us right. Just yesterday, Emma got an email from one of her loyal, tried and true friends. It was the sweetest thing ever written and had the line in it, "your my best-est friend ever!!" And I have many other friends whose daughters don't treat my daughter poorly (hopefully they never do because I would hate to have to follow the no-friend advice!).

What I tell my daughter repeatedly is, "Love the people who treat you right, forget about the ones who don't."

Advice I think I need to listen to.


  1. hmmm...this is very true. I cannot tolerate a mother of one of my son's friends. She smokes and drinks and has a loose mouth for a cannon. I try to have the friend come over here as much as I can. I'm sure she thinks I am an arrogant, snobbish, prude.
    But I just can't have my son around that. If that's her behavior around me, what's it like when I'm not present????

    EXCELLENT writing. Excellent.

  2. Well, it sounds to me as though your friend already made the decision to cut off the friendship by not allowing you to tell her when your daughter is being hurt by her daughter. End of story. I'm glad Emma has other friends to be with. Good luck!

  3. The issues you bring up about how to deal with bullying involving your own child are so important. Your BF has obviously taught her daughter how to be a bully through her inaction to address her child's behavior starting when she was very young (two year olds and younger need to be corrected in this area!)and also through modeling bullying behavior. This little girl knows that her mom dismisses your and Emma's concerns. Her mother is a bully and that alone should be reason to dismiss her as a friend. Not saying that is easy....