You can pick your friends, you can pick your nose, you can pick your kid’s nose, but you can’t pick your kid’s friends—they don’t get to pick yours either. And so, I tapped a parenting psychologist and celebrated mama blogger to tell us how to handle everything from clueless parents to bratty kids.
The issue: Another parent takes the reigns and disciplines your kid. If you’re like me, you want to explode, but take a deep breath, this parent might have just helped, not hindered you.
The solution: “Take a step back before you say anything to the parent,” advises Leah Klungness, Ph.D., psychologist and parenting expert. She says to ask yourself why this parent chose to step in. “Was there a possible safety risk? Maybe this mom is simply the in charge’ type and was scared your child was going to fall off the jungle gym, even though you know he can handle it.” Also, is it possible that you were pre-occupied when your kid shoved her child, so this mom felt obliged to intervene? “Learning to take direction from adults other than Mom and Dad is a valuable school success skill, so, let it go, unless your child was wrongly scolded,” says Klungness.
The issue: As a single mom with a son, it’s just a coincidence that all of my mom friends have girls. Their dads joke my son, JD, is a “ladies man.” But should I be worried my kid is spending too much time with me, a woman—his dad is not around at all—and his friends (mostly girls)?
The solution: Klungness, who is also the author of The Complete Single Mother says when it comes to preschool-age kids like my son, gender differences in playmates really don’t matter all that much. “I have three young boys and most of my friends have girls, so when we get together we find activities that everyone loves like going for a swim, jumping on the trampoline, a trip to the zoo and arts and crafts,” says Melissa Skabich, who blogs at fitsngiggles.com. However, Klungness says when kids hit school age, same sex playmates fulfill important developmental needs. “Same sex peers during these years, and later, are essential for all kids, because boys and girls go through changes and need gender support.” Tip: Enroll your son and daughter in boy/girl sports or activities respectively.
The issue: You love hanging with your kid’s friend’s parents and have so much in common with them. One huge problem: Their child drives you, pull-at-your-hair, need a mommy timeout, insane. Do you cut all ties? Not so fast.
The solution: Kelcey Kintner from TheMamaBirdDiaries.com says this is a great opportunity to take a break from your kids and your friends’ “insane” ones. “Book a sitter for Saturday night and make reservations at your favorite restaurant—order wine,” she advises. “Regardless, it’s healthy to just enjoy an adult night out with no kids. My own children drive me crazy enough, so I’m not hanging out with other nutty kids if I don’t have to.”
Have any sticky tricky parenting situations to dish about? I’ll pop in and offer advice. xo
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