Because he’s a teenager now, the days of supervised playdates are over. This is great, but that doesn’t mean you don’t keep tabs on your kids. In fact, I keep a closer eye on him now more than ever.
It’s hard when your kids’ friends are parented differently, but it’s usually something you can work around. But my son’s best friend’s mom has zero rules in her house, lets her son walk all over her, and there was a time when she was constantly calling me crying because he’d skipped school, or ignored his curfew.
I got into this tough situation and I was there for her for a spell. Then, I felt suffocated. She wasn’t respecting my boundaries. I then found out she was bad mouthing me to my son, saying that I was too hard on him.
All this while she was calling me asking me for advice.
It feels like I can’t get away from her. I want my son to have the friendships he chooses, and if he’s living under my roof he has to listen to my rules. So, I’m still involved in his life and want to know where he spends his time.
How can I deal with this in a healthy way while setting a good example for my son? I can’t be alone in this, right?
I spoke with psychologist Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo, Ph.D., who said that the first order of business is to figure out why you aren’t a fan of the mother of your child’s bestie. “You still have to deal with the mom you don’t like after you figure out why, and are okay with your child continuing the bond,” she said.
After all, we can’t pick our kids’ friends according to their parents. They need space and autonomy to select their own friends, whether we like their parents or not.
Next, Dr. Lombardo advises, “You need to treat them as you would irritating coworkers, and employ common sense.”
That means being polite, courteous, not spreading rumors or letting your kids hear you bad mouth them, Dr. Lombardo says — adding that, “You should have mutual respect for each other.” Regardless of what they do, don’t criticize the mother or her decisions in front of your child or their friends.
I can tell my son feels conflicted by some of the things his friend’s mom has said about me. Yes, he likes that there are fewer rules there, but I’m his mother and we have a good relationship.
It’s tempting to talk smack about her and tell him what’s really going on, but I can’t do that. They’re going to be friends regardless of what I think.
So, taking Dr. Lombardo’s advice, I know I can control how I deal with it and vent to another trusting adult instead.
After all, the time will come when I don’t have to deal with my kids’ friends’ parents at all. Knowing there’s light at the end of the tunnel will have to be enough for now.
This article was originally published on