Thursday, September 20, 2012

10 Ways to Keep Your Friendship Intact (When your friend doesn't like your child).





You know without a doubt that your child is wonderful, and I have no doubt that you are 100% correct (all children are wonderful, that's the beauty of children).  But what happens when you have a friend who doesn't like your child?  Or worse yet, you have a very good friend who makes it clear they are not overly fond of your child?

I have a friend whom I've been very close with for years.  She's a gem, and I like everything about her...except there was one of my children she was not overly fond of when that child was little.  She never out and out said it, (because no matter how nice of a person we might be, that could be grounds for terminating a friendship, regardless of how much we like the other person) but she would say things that made it known...and it irked me. It really, really irked me considering my child was so well-behaved!  But then again, she probably thought her child was, and though I really liked her child (still do), her child was no Saint.  What child is?  That's not their job.

Anyway...it's not an issue anymore, because our kids are grown, and our friendship made it through intact, and I'm pretty sure she likes my child now that he/she is older (there's no friction between her child and mine anymore, they've long since gone their separate ways). 

Of course when something like that happens you cannot help but wonder HOW COULD HE/SHE NOT LIKE MY CHILD??  I still don't get it, and it's been years for me since it happened, but that's okay, I'm the mom; something like that is supposed to baffle me. 

In retrospect, I count my blessings that she respected/trusted our friendship enough to a). not out and out tell me (too big of a blow to withstand) and b). let me know in a roundabout way (subtle hints allowed me to take proactive measures so both of us would not be put in awkward/stressful situations later).

I have therefore, compiled a list of things that worked for us, and am happy to say the person I am referring to is still (many years later) one of my closest friends.

10 Ways to Keep Your Friendship Intact (When your friend doesn't like your child). 

 1.  No matter how you have scheduled play dates or time together in the past, start visiting where the children have a broader horizon to explore.  I chose the park.  In taking our kids to the park it allowed the children to all interact with one another, and other children as well, without the one-on-one constraints that private play time would entail.

 2.  Never tell your friend outright that you don't like his/her child.  It's something that will stay in their mind and alter your friendship, even if it doesn't end it (though it could do the latter).  Parents are sensitive about their children, and rightly so.

 3.  Don't talk about it to other parents.  If you haven't addressed it directly with your friend, why would you talk about it to others in the circle?  Gossip about someone you (and everyone else in the group) cares about, is bound to lead to negative reprecussions

 4.  Know that 'this too shall pass.'  The kids are going to get older, develop different interests, change personalities, etc.  Realizing that the 'thing' or 'things' your friend might not like about your child is/are temporary could go a long way in tempering your thoughts/mind.

 5.  Validate the importance of your friendship by allowing your friend his/her opinion.  Sometimes you just cannot help who you like or dislike.  I wish that wasn't true, but it is, and somewhere along the way, someone is not going to care to spend time with/around your child, or vice versa.

 6.  Don't leave your child with the person who doesn't like him/her.  Yes, you may be close, and yes, you may trust that person with your life, but leaving a child with him/her if they're not overly fond of your child to begin with, is NOT the way to get them to change their mind.  And why would you leave your child where he/she isn't really appreciated the way they deserve anyway?  There are other options...day care, family members, other friends, a trusted neighbor, etc., use them.

 7.  Don't pull the 'my kid is nicer than/better behaved than/more polite than' your kid!' card.  Trust me, it won't help.  In fact, it will only serve to exacerbate the problem.

 8.  Allow yourself to be hurt, baffled, or amazed that your friend doesn't like your child.  It's okay for it to sting, it's ugly news, so why wouldn't it?  Don't suppress or ignore it, acknowledge to yourself that it hurts, and (if you deem the friendship worth keeping) move on.

 9.  Don't talk to your child about it (why would you?).  It will stay in their mind even if the person changes his/her opinion about the child, and it can only be construed to them as a negative.  It would be very hard to put a positive spin on such a situation for a child that would stick.

10.  Use the situation for future good.  Maybe in the future you'll find yourself not so eager to spend time with someone because you don't care for their child...remember this situation and how it made you feel, to help you find positive ways of dealing with it on your own (should the situation arise).  Or use the way it made you feel to help smooth over the rough edges of something similar that might occur between others.  Or whatever else might arise where you could use the situation to help create a positive elsewhere, later.

I am a firm believer that our negative experiences can be turned around and used for good, even in the most trying of situations.

Of course in proper context, my friend was also respectful to my child, despite how she felt, and always treated him/her the same as every other child that was around. If your friend is being rude to your child, the matter would be different, and depending on the situation/severity, addressing the person directly and then assessing the situation/friendship could well need to be done.

If you have experienced a similar situation, or have any tips/advice to offer for others that might help them in a similar situation, please post them here.  Your words could be just the thing that someone else needed to see.

I think the most important thing to remember is tolerance.  Put yourself in your friend's shoes, and try to think from their perspective.  With a little tender love and care, you and your friend can make it through to the other side.  If the friendship is worth it, you'll be glad that you did.



19 comments:

  1. Luckily I haven't had to face this problem yet. Although I know my kids "annoy" at times, I'm hopeful none of our friends outright don't like them. But good advice should it come up!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I don't think any of my friends don't like my kids. Either I haven't caught on or they are really good at hiding it lol. I have come across a few children I am not fond of, but I would never dream of telling a parent that their kid isn't top notch. Kids go through phases, and I figure most of them will straighten out sooner or later.

    ReplyDelete
  3. this is a really interesting topic! i think you are right that this happens. i have had it happen in a couple of ways. first, i have an acquaintance who has a child i don't really "like" but the problem is more how she is parented - her unfriendly behavior is always laughed off and often at my kids or other kids expense. i decided to just keep my distance as it wasn't a close friend. i have also had this happen with a friend whom is close to me. i am a kid person, looove kids, but when kids are mean i don't love that at all. one of my friends kids was being pretty mean and i just made an effort to spend one on one time with them! sometimes when you are around kids and there are several it's just so different! but after we spent quality time together it completely changed! i also think for the good friends in your life it's really important to make a person connection with their children. as adults is our responsibility to set the tone, not the kids! so even when i get together with my close friends and all the kids are around, i take moments to just talk to them or do something special.

    ReplyDelete
  4. it is a hard thing to deal with. theses are some really good tips. i have been in this situation and they just didn't want to be friends anymore

    ReplyDelete
  5. We are reading each other's posts at the same time - how about that. I just saw your comment via email pop up! There can't be but one Rosey!

    Anyway, this was a GREAT list. I think moms kinds of have an understanding. As for #9 OOOPS my bad. In so many words I told Christopher if I found out he acted like that when I wasn't around, he would be in big trouble. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Would never had thought of this - but I'm sure this happens as it did with you - even though your son was well behaved. Oh well - we don't like everyone as adults, nor should we be expected too but it makes it tricky when you are close to the parents....

    ReplyDelete
  7. I think your solutions with how to deal with this situation are spot on. You're taking the mature, logical, most positive approach, and I love that! Its always important to keep working to find a solution, rather than to possibly lose a friend.

    ReplyDelete
  8. These are some great advice. I hope one day when I have children, I won`t be having those kind of problems, cause they`re really awkward. But, on the other side, life is life :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thanks for coming by. Words of wisdom. A difficult situation, especially when you are close to the parents.

    Yael from Home Garden Diggers

    ReplyDelete
  10. wonderful tips for a topic that's very hard to discuss.

    ReplyDelete
  11. A thoughtful approach to an emotional issue. Thanks for addressing it. Followed you back.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I definitely would be baffled, if any of my friends felt this way. It's nice your friendship survived this period. At least you both are classy people. I don't know, if too many friends today can do this. You offered some great advice for younger moms. I hope they apply your tips to their lives. Good post!

    ReplyDelete
  13. That's great that you both were able to overlook this and still remain friends!

    Found you via the bloghop.

    Newest follower!

    xo
    SEL
    growinglaughingandlovinginlife.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  14. Great tips.. glad that you are still friends. I haven't personally come across this problem but do have come across some nasty kids whose parents can't be bothered to rein them in so I disallow my kids to play with them instead. I believe that if they personally cannot be understanding towards kids (not just my kid) then it's not worth the effort continuing to spend time with them . [ not saying that my kids are angles coz they certainly aren't. ]

    ReplyDelete
  15. Excellent designs, beautiful handbags, very interesting. A greeting.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Very interesting topic! I have a friendship that's lasted for nearly 18 years, but I'm not sure why it has. She doesn't like or want kids, and only calls to see if I can "get away". She's clearly awkward around my kids, so I don't normally plan for them to be around her.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Oh wow. As far as I know I've never had this issue and hope I never do! I would take those feelings very personally, and couldn't be friends with whomever it was.

    Thanks for linking up with my NO RULES Weekend Blog Party!
    Paula
    lifeasweknowitbypaula.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  18. Some great advice here! Stopping by from the Friday Chaos Bloghop! I'm one of the co-hosts this week and now your newest follower! Thanks so much for linking up! If you get the chance, we'd love you to stop by the blog and follow back :) Thanks,
    Vikki xxx
    http://www.littlelovesblog.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
  19. Myself and a couple of my friends are going through this situation right now, and it's somewhat difficult to deal with. Liking #1 and hoping as the child gets older things will get better. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    Anna @ BeanBugCrafts

    ReplyDelete