When our kids start school and begin to make friends, we sometimes find ourselves developing relationships with their friends’ parents. But here’s the thing: We might not want to be around these people. If our kids are friends, do we have to be friends with their parents too? Nope. And we don’t have to feel guilty about it.
It can be great if our kids’ friends have parents we enjoy being around and become fast friends with, but that isn’t always the case. We might find ourselves trying to force some odd friendship out of an obligation to our kids. Chances are, if we’re feeling weird about it, the other parents probably are, too. So, it’s best to keep things casual and not try to become BFFs with people just because our kids like each other.
How can we send our kids to a stranger’s house who we know nothing about? Well, we don’t do that. Getting to know people and building trust differs from calling them up and planning a weekend getaway together. But if we know enough about the family and know our children will be safe with them, it is okay to let them build a friendship, even the best friendship, with someone whose parent is not our best friend.
My Best Friend’s Mom Wasn’t Friends With Mine
I can remember when I was a kid, my very best friend in the whole world — still my best friend to this day — was at my house all the time, and I spent a lot of time at hers. But our parents were not great friends. Yes, they were acquaintances and knew each other well enough to allow us to spend days at the other’s house, but it didn’t go beyond that.
Our moms knew we were being cared for by the other moms, and that was all that mattered to them. I felt loved by my best friend’s mother. I told her all kinds of secrets, and she helped me with my homework and made my favorite dinner when I was at her home. She was an important part of my growing up, separate from my mother. My best friend had a very similar life with my mother, and to this day, they can spend hours talking even if they haven’t seen each other in years. Our relationships with each other and our mothers are beautiful and unique, even though they don’t intersect with the older adults.
Not Interested Anymore In Making New Friends
As my children age, I have become increasingly uninterested in building friendships with new people. In my 40s, I have plenty of close friends, and acquaintances are all I need. This has been most difficult with my youngest child. She is in a class with many first-time moms who want to be social with happy hour and girls’ weekends. That is all fine, but I am not in that stage anymore. I have kids in high school. There isn’t enough time for all of that. But they are the moms of my daughter’s friends, so I am cordial and kind, but that is about as far as it goes.
It’s not that I don’t like these people; it’s just that I don’t share their ideas of a good time. I am not judging or casting aspersions on their behavior. It’s just that it isn’t in my best interests to go out with the girls and be away from my family, so I don’t.
Social Media Can Tell Us Who Someone Is
Today, thanks to social media, getting to know people without actually talking to them is a lot easier. It may sound creepy, but if you friend or follow people on social media, you can learn much about what you need to know before you decide whether to encourage your child to become close friends with another kid. No, you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but photos and videos people post online can give a lot of insight into their lives and might give you a reason to talk to them, ask some questions, and learn more about them.
Try not to take it personally if your kids’ friend’s parents don’t want to be your friend, either. It may not feel great, but their parents may have these same kinds of feelings. Their cup may be too full already, and adding more friends isn’t in the cards right now. That’s okay, too.
More than anything, even if you aren’t best friends with your kids’ friends’ parents, ensure you are still encouraging them to foster those meaningful relationships. You might not want any new best friends, but teaching your child that it is important to treat their friends’ parents with respect and to have good manners is very important.
No matter what, always know where your kids are, who they are with, and that they are safe. Even if the parents aren’t your good friends, as long as they are responsible, caring adults and your kids are friends, it’s okay for them to become friends.