Can Differing Parenting Styles End a Friendship?

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These days moms name their parenting styles the way women only used to name their political parties. And I get that. For the sake of discussion, you never know it you're a sitting Democrat walking into a room of Republicans. And you'd hate people to assume. It's nice to get it out in the open so there are no misconceptions. It also forces you move beyond these issues and find other kinds of commonalities.

But now that we let it all hang out — from where our child sleeps and what our child eats to whether or not we vaccinate and how we discipline — can it get in the way of friendships with other moms?

What do you think?

The moms in The CafeMom Newcomers Club are talking about parenting styles and friendship in the thread Do other mom's parenting styles affect your friendships?

Some women's friendships have been affected by differing parenting styles; however, many say, with the exception of abuse or kids allowed to exhibit extreme behavior problems, that they could care less how other moms parent.

Among my girlfriends, parenting styles really run the gamut.

I have mom friends who breastfeed and formula feed, spank and don't spank, work outside the home and stay home with their kids, use disposable diapers and use cloth diapers, practice attachment parenting, cry it out, and a few even consider themselves to be "recovering" attachment parents. I have friends who don't circumcise and wear their babies, ones who find television to be fine in moderation, and some who detest all plastic toys.

Does that mean there has never been the occasional awkward moment when our parenting styles collide? Not at all. Of course, it happens. However, I also find that when it comes to my close friends and their kids, I can pretty much live and let live — and even learn from their parenting experiences, successes, and shortfalls.

What has been your experience with your mom friends who practice different parenting styles?


Related posts:

Parenting Styles: Which Type of Parent Are You?

Moms and Kids as Equals -- New Parenting Approach

development & growth, discipline, sleep


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char944 char944

I have a strong-willed child that is sometimes difficult to control.  A "good" friend of mine was constantly giving advice on how to make her behave, from spanking her with a spoon to guilting her into behavior.  Finally she told me that she didn't want my child around hers, because she was afraid that my child's behavior would rub off on hers.  I was stunned.  I have been working so hard with my daughter and thought I had made significant progress.  This caused a rift that is still going on.  When I confronted her about my feelings, she accused me of "hearing her wrong".  I ended up apologizing for having misunderstood her!  Anyway, I have never experienced this before with any other friends.  I guess it depends on how strongly a person believes in a certain style of parenting/discipline.  Because of their strong belief, they feel they must share it.

lucho... luchousdiva

I have friends that we don't always agree on things and like another mom said unless they aren't fed, clothed, or being taken care of then I stay out of it. But there are some people that I have met and tried to be friends with but there are just some things I couldn't get passed so I just let that person go.

mommy... mommyheymommy

I can respect another mom's parenting choices.  We all do the best we know how.  The "right" way is different for everybody.  We are not cookie cutter humans.  However, if a mother's choices for her children begin to infringe upon the health and well being of MY children, and she can't understand or doesn't care to....that is a problem.  Some moms think their kids can do and say no wrong.  I know a mom that literally wanted my kids to swim in her kid's shit (because he was eight and eeking poop and she wouldn't put swim pants on him) and for me to be ok with that.  Because I was not, she decided we could not be friends any longer.

081109 081109

As long as everyone is on the same page with the big things, mainly having the children be the #1 priority, and is okay to let go the little things the friendships can last.  It's more about the type of person the mother is than the parenting honestly.  Me and my two best friends are all moms of kids around the same age.  I have a just turned one year old, another has an almost two year old and a six month old, and the other has a four month old.  I don't always agree with all their choices.  But they both love their children and put them first and that's all that matters to me.

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