Is the kid bad or merely different from yours? “Maybe the child is rambunctious or not a great listener, but really think about why you can’t stand him. Is it that you’re not comfortable with that type of child? Are you bitter because he broke your vase?” Dr. Andrea Bonior says. “As parents, sometimes with other kids it’s three strikes and they’re out, while our kids have three strikes and the slate is wiped clean.”
Adding a third family to the mix will allow you to focus less on the kid who drives you nuts. “Plus, if there are other children hanging around, whatever it is that you find objectionable might not seem as annoying,” says Dr. Susan Newman.
Don’t try to parent someone else’s child, even if that someone is your BFF, Dr. Newman says. “It will only upset or insult your friend.”
If your friend is pushing to include her whole brood in your weekend plan, use your own kids’ behavior issues as an excuse to keep it adults only and hire a sitter. “Say, ‘I have such limited time to see my girlfriends that I would love to hang out just you and me. The kids will need so much of our attention and be so distracting, and I want to focus on catching up with you,’” suggests Amy McCready.