Advice

What To Do If You Dislike the Parent of Your Child’s Friend

It’s always an exciting milestone when your child reaches an age where they begin to form lasting friendships. As parents, we are curious about the inner workings of our children’s social lives, even if we have to observe from a distance. Until they reach a certain age, our children still rely on us to be present. So, until you feel comfortable enough to let your child venture out on their own, chances are you will accompany them on many playdates.

These can be enjoyable because they give you a chance to meet and connect with other parents through your child’s friends. However, things can become awkward if you don’t hit it off with the other parent. As your child continues to make new friends throughout their life, you will likely encounter at least one parent whom you do not get along with. If this situation arises, the following advice may come in handy for handling it gracefully.

So, you dislike the parent of your child’s friend. What to do about it

Here are a few ideas on how to navigate the situation if you dislike the parent of your child’s friend.

1. Identify the Specific Dislike

There are countless reasons why a person might not be your cup of tea. You could have opposing beliefs or clashing personalities, or maybe your initial impression changes over time. And that’s perfectly fine. You don’t have to get along with everyone, just as not everyone has to get along with you.

Identifying the specific reason will assist in determining whether it can be resolved with surface-level solutions or if it requires a deeper approach due to fundamental incompatibility.

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2. Set Aside Personal Feelings

You’re going to have to work for a place where you can let go of feelings and focus on what is best for your child. Understandably, if you’re uncomfortable trusting this parent with your children because you dislike him, then you have to do what feels right. However, if your dislike is simply a matter of more fundamental differences, you should try to put those feelings aside for the sake of your child’s best interests.

3. Consider the Behaviour You Model

If your kid finds out you don’t like their friend’s parent, they’ll be watching you like a hawk. Seeing how you handle it, will help them develop the skills to interact with people they don’t like. The younger the child, the more important it is to model the behaviour you want to teach them. If your older kids think you don’t practice what you preach, they will call you out on it.

4. Observe More Before Deciding

If you still can’t figure out what it is about them you don’t like, spend more time together to get some clarity. This extra time will reveal if it’s a you thing, or a genuine concern for your child’s safety. Trust your instincts and invest time in ensuring your child’s well-being.

5. Opt for Drop-Off Playdates

If your kid is old enough, and you aren’t concerned for their welfare, drop-off playdates can limit your direct interaction with the friend’s parents. This arrangement provides breathing space for both parents and frees up time for you to run some errands or treat yourself to a child-free coffee.

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6. Expand Social Circles

Dilute and minimise one-on-one interactions with the parent by involving more parents in social circles. A larger group means less direct interaction, a larger group of kids for your child to befriend, and as the kids grow older, they can rotate through different households, reducing the likelihood of extended time with a parent you don’t like.

7. Prioritise Mutual Respect

It’s not mandatory to be friends with other kids’ parents. But it is important to maintain mutual respect. Again, your kids are watching you and learning from you. Avoid disrespectful behaviour, especially in front of the children. Be cordial so you don’t inadvertently mess up your kid’s chance for a great friendship.

8. Separate Parental Behaviour from the Child

It’s not your child’s friend’s fault you can’t get along with their parent. Resist the urge to look at the kid as an extension of their parents and foist your dislike on to them. As long as the child in question and your child have a great, authentic, non-forced friendship, let it grow into something amazing and potentially life-long.

I remember how it felt when one of my friend’s parents, didn’t like my parent and how they treated me as if I was simply an extension of them. I’ve also been the parent other parents had an issue with (and vice versa) and taking it out on the kid isn’t fair.

You don’t have to like everyone. Not everyone has to like you. But when there are kids involved, you have to be the bigger person and put your issues aside. Unless there are genuine concerns for your child or the other child’s safety and wellbeing, limit your contact with the other parent but encourage your kids’ friendships. Be the person you want your kids to grow up to be.

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Tina Evans is a complete introvert, an avid reader of romance novels, horror novels and psychological thrillers. She’s a writer, movie viewer, and manager of the house menagerie: three kelpies, one cat, a fish, and a snake. She loves baking and cooking and using her kids as guinea pigs. She was a teenage parent and has learned a lot in twenty-three years of parenting. Tina loves Christmas and would love to experience a white Christmas once in her life. Aside from writing romance novels, she is passionate about feminism, equality, sci-fi, action movies and doing her part to help the planet.

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