Friday, September 27th, 2013
My friend’s kid is trying to kill me! Basically, every time one certain dear pal comes over with her offspring, her Tasmanian Devil destroys my house. Like I have to call the fire department and then the handyman. Somehow, she doesn’t notice this. I really love my friend, but, man, what do I do about her kid? I immediately thought of asking expert Julie Klam, author of Friendkeeping, for advice. Julie knows all. In real life and in her book, she tells it like it is with wisdom and wit.
KK: What do I do when I do not like a friend’s kid(s)? I have a situation where I love my friend, but she lets her kids act evil. It’s difficult when they play because my kids aren’t allowed to act like hers act. I am dying to tell her how to parent, but I realize that’s a sure way to destroy our friendship (even if it does save my dog’s eyes and my couch).
JK: I sometimes think of this situation in the way I see my friendship with a conservative republican. How can two people be friends when they see things in such a different way? You love this person, but this is tough because you strongly disagree with a large aspect of his/her personality: how s/he parents. When my daughter was a baby, we joined a playgroup. All the babies pretty much sat there like lumps, occasionally sitting up or falling over. I didn’t really have any disagreements with anyone on how they parented. Someone did a family bed, or believed in letting a baby cry it out, and I just felt like it was all so difficult that any way a person found to get peace was cool with me. As they got older, things changed. Suddenly, the pudgy little smiley baby became a mass hitter and his mom turned into a ‘use your words’ type, and I really liked her. What can you do? Let your little angel be whomped? Obviously not.
And there are as many parenting styles that don’t mesh as there are talking Elmo toys, and it isn’t necessarily a bad kid or a bad parent (though it can be and then it’s a nice opportunity to feel smug. Just kidding!) So what do you do? Up until about age 10, there is so much to disagree with – too permissive with junk food, too much TV, making a really big deal about my kid watching too much TV, which she might have, you realize that if a person is somewhat likeminded, it’s still possible for them to be annoying with their kids. I really don’t think it’s something you can discuss. There is no way friends who parent “differently” can do so without one of you feeling judged.
The best solution is to meet without the kids, it’s healthy for you too. That way whatever wacky stuff they do won’t affect you you or kid, and you can smile and pretend you think it’s fine for a two-year-old to build a birdhouse with a real hammer and nails.
For more great insight, check out Julie Klam’s book, Friendkeeping!Add a Comment