Family friends are awesome. The dads hang out with the dads. Moms chat it up with other moms. And the kids all get along beautifully, laughing and playing until the sun slips low beneath the horizon. It's truly amazing how wonderfully everyone always gets along.
Yeah, believe that and I have a bridge or two to sell ya. Real cheap!
Finding the perfect family to complement your own can be 20 times tougher than potty training ever was. It generally starts with the moms getting along and the family get-together soon follows. Dads are fairly easy going -- as long as sports or beer is involved. But the kids. Oh, the kids.
Think about it. How many really good friends do you love hanging out with, but ... well, your kids just don't get along too well? Have you ever bribed your kid to go on a play date with another kid, just so you could hang out with the other mom?
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I know it's tough being a mom out there. Finding someone to understand what you're going through and be a solid friend to lean on, get advice, and just all-around chat with is invaluable. But when your kids don't get along with theirs, it can cause a lot of friction. It's even worse when their kid is abusive to or a bad influence on your own, and the other mom is oblivious.
So what do you do when your good friend has a kid that sucks big time? You can avoid play dates and family get-togethers and just keep talking with the friend and hanging out sans kids. But after a while, that gets a bit awkward. There are only so many excuses you can make for not getting the kids together before it looks really suspicious.
You can straight up confront your friend that you love their friendship but wish the kids could get along better. Yeah. That wouldn't strain that relationship at all. Nope. Not one bit.
Which means you're left with two choices. Either let the friendship fizzle, or just suck it up and accept that you'll have a friend at your child's expense. As a dad, it's easy for me to say that my own kid's happiness should be most important, and if he's miserable just so you can have someone to talk to, it's not worth it. But like I said, I'm a dad. I'm fine sitting on the couch with a beer in one hand and an Xbox controller in the other.
For moms, it's a lot tougher. Every situation is different and it all comes down to balance. How good a friend is this? How bad an influence is the other kid? How completely miserable is your own kid?
If it's not too bad for your own child, then it's probably worth continuing the friendship, if it's a good one for you. After all, as we get older, we all need to deal with people we don't get along with, or even out-and-out hate. So you're teaching your kids a valuable life lesson by putting them in uncomfortable situations early on. It's either that, or you other people need to stop raising sucky kids.
Have you lost any friends because your kids don't get along?
Image via Mindaugas Danys/Flickr