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.