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Parenting Advice on Liking Other Parents

Child development expert and author Michelle Anthony, Ph.D., solves your trickiest kid problems.
 

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Question
I like my daughter’s friend but I am not so fond of her parents. They always want to get together when the girls have a playdate. How can I manage?

Answer
When your daughter was little, you chose her friends for her. These were usually the children of your own friends or acquaintances. But from preschool on, she has more opportunity to choose her own pals. That’s an important developmental step, but when it comes with a set of parents that rub you the wrong way . . . ugh!

Don’t sweat it. You don’t have to like everyone. To better manage the grown-up relationship, try thinking of the new parents as a strategic alliance, as opposed to a friendship you struggle to create. Perhaps they can become allies you call on for an after-school pickup in a pinch.

Otherwise, try a few things to keep the time you spend with them to a minimum. A playdate for the girls centered on an activity, such as a movie or bowling, requires less adult conversation and direct interaction. You can also try inviting the other mom to drop off her daughter at your place “to free up time so you can run errands.” Or suggest a playdate at the friend’s house, and have 
a reason you are unable to stay past drop-off.

If you can’t avoid the get-together, keep the conversation as light as you can. Start off with a question about a topic of interest to them, for example, or discuss a magazine article you’ve brought. That way, you can keep things bubbling along without the awkward silences that sometimes happen.

Let the friendship blossom between the kids while you sidestep interactions as best you can. (Hopefully, they’ll get the hint.) The good news is, as your kid gets older, you’ll spend less time with the other parents, and just as with a business acquaintance or casual friend, the interactions will be about what you expect: small talk in passing.

Plus:
Making New Friends: Mom Edition
How to Handle a Show-Off
My Shy Child Won't Go to Parties!
What To Do When a Younger Sibling Excels

Photo Credit: Scott Griessel/Thinkstock

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