Navigating Different Parenting Styles Need Not End a Friendship

What do you do when your friend's parenting style is different than yours?One of the most startling revelations I've had during my parenting experience is discovering that some of my friends have very different parenting philosophies than I do.

And while I'd like to think that how they parent their kids shouldn't really affect our friendship, it can really complicate matters, especially if what they choose to do something that feels morally wrong to you.

Cough SPANKING Cough.

But over the years, I've learned a few ways to cope with some of my friends' different parenting styles. And if you've got friends who drive you nuts with how they parent their kids, these might work for you too.


1. No more playdates

I quickly learned that if I wanted to remain friendly with several of my own friends, I had to stop having playdates with them. I realized that we were completely fine and happy on a girl's night out or a grown-up only party, but when kids were involved in close quarters, I just couldn't hack it.

Of course, it's rare that I have the opportunity to get a GNO on the calendar, but maybe your friendship with this particular person is reason to make those happen more often.

2. Don't discuss parenting issues

For the most part, I understand that everyone has the right to his or her own parenting philosophy (though I admit I have no tolerance for spanking). So when you remove that from the equation, it's much easier to be friends with someone. Granted, parenting takes up the majority of my life right now, but on the flip side, it's important to give yourself a little break from talking about your kids, and having a friend who has different views can be the perfect excuse to rekindle your relationship with your pre-mom self.

3. Decide if it's really worth staying friends

The truth is that parenting changes people. And if you feel as though you can't remain friends with them, then sometimes it's best to just part ways, especially if it's causing you a lot of stress and heartache. There's a good chance that you've changed as well, so it's important to look at yourself as much as the other person involved, but if you feel as though your kids' safety might be compromised if you're interacting with your friend and her kids, or you feel as though your values will be disregarded by meeting up with her, it could be time to just cut ties.

What do you do if your friend has a parenting style that's completely opposite of yours?


Photo via Flicker/1derwoman

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