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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Histo... HistoryMamaX3

I'm a grown up. I have the ability to think for myself and I don't have to care what others think of me, unless I want to. I will parent my children how ever I want- and I will even parent your children if they need it. If you don't like me or my ways, then I really don't want/need to deal with your drama. Not important enough to me!

I honestly don't care how others parent their children either, unless they seem to be hurting them (of course) and I just don't find myself ever having an issue like this... it seems petty and childish. I have many friends who do things very differently than I do- again, why would I care?

People are so petty.

divam... divamomtjcj

my friend lets her kid cuss at her and hit her hes 13 also now she buys him ciggarettes so really i dont want my kids around that

tuffy... tuffymama

Unless it is sheer disrespect and abuse, I MMOB. In the case of one friend who let her bastard prick children run all over her all the time, I butted my whole face in, not just my nose, when they started raising their hands to their mom. I read those jerks like the Sunday paper, AND I got their grampa involved. Two of them are lost causes and will likely end up in jail, but they're out of her house now. The other one may turn out okay. The jury is out.

Christen Aubuchon

I have a friend that does not believe in spanking and I do, we both respect that of each other and no I will not spank her kids, I will do as she wishes while they are in my home and the same goes for her. You don't have to give up a friendship if your parenting styles are different. Respect the others wishes, Now if you feel you need to step in then do so. If those kids are in your home and running all over you then it is your right to express yourself.

wamom223 wamom223

Like Tuffy unless you are abusive I try to mind my own business.  But I have one friend that I just told I want to cut all contact off with.  There are some shows you don't want front row seats for.

nonmember avatar Shannon

I ended a friendship with a woman over daycare. Not because she needed to send her kid to daycare --- I get it, her family needs two incomes to get by. But that she was SO HAPPY about sticking her 6 week old in daycare 12 hours a day. She flat out said, "I'm so glad he's in daycare all day... I barely have the patience for him as it is." This made me sick. BTW, she had ANOTHER kid a year later. Really, why bother having kids?

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