Can Differing Parenting Styles End a Friendship?

best friends kids

Photo by thinline

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


To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

KatieP. KatieP.

As long as their child is fed, clothed and loved I don't give a crap as to how they accomplish that!

Agent... AgentBrez

good question. my family relocated last july to a new state, where we have no family and didnt know anyone. my one neighbor and i are very alike in politics, religion and mostly parenting. but to branch out i found a local group of other moms, mainly SAH. when i first started hanging out with them last yr, shortly after moved, everything was fine. but once my youngest was sleeping in the morning and afternoon i couldnt go to anything they scheduled. ive just started getting back into it. i think i avoided them for awhile b/c i felt i didnt completely belong. but i realized i cant be so close minded [or assume they are] or i would have no friends! so even though some of the things they do and say can bother me, i try not to let it get to me too much. there are lots of different styles of parenting and some work for some people and some work for others. like the PP said, im more concerned with the basics.

justa... justanotherjen

It's not the differing parenting styles that is a problem, it is people's attitudes.  They can do everything the opposite of me and I won't have a problem but if their attitude is they are doing it the right way and everyone else is wrong then there are going to be issues.

Personally, I don't have a lot of friends (mom or otherwise).  I just don't get along with other women.

RanaA... RanaAurora

It can absolutely end friendships.  There's no way in hell I could be friends with someone who didn't have their children's best interest in mind. 

My neighbor across the street, for instance, told me I'm PARANOID because I don't let my son play in the street by himself, play with electric toy chainsaws and guns, and had him in a 5-point harness (he was FOUR when we had this conversation, by the way!).
If you aren't busting your ass to do the BEST job you can for your children, I don't have an interest in a friendship with you, because you're not the kind of person I want to befriend, period.  Facts aren't insults, and anyone who is my friend gets that - I want to be corrected if you know I'm not doing something as well as I could be, and you better be ready to hear the same from me, and fix it if it's within the realm of possibility.

Proud... ProudSingleMum

In general. No. But I have one friend who I don't have much to do with because from what I can tell, it isn't about differing disipline routines, but rather to discipline or not. Her child doesnt listen, breaks things, tries to hurt my cihld etc.  So we don't hang out.

CherB... CherBearCM

It can when people aren't accepting of the fact that everyone has different ways of doing things and just because you don't do things their way does not mean it's the wrong way.  Otherwise it can work very well and they can learn from each other.

nily nily

Well I respect everyone's way to raise their kids as they think is best for them as long as they take good care of them. I also expect everyone to respect mine. I think if they are good parents but do thinks I wouldn't consider to do with my kids example (give them lots of candies, sit them too much in front of the TV) and those things I don't do with mine is OK I mean is their problem later not mine. But if I see abuse, neglected or leave their kids go wild my answer will be YESit will be the end of our friendship. I don't allow child abuse and wont put my kids in danger either with savage kids.

Fallaya Fallaya

I agree with justanotherjen.  I have no problem with another mom's way of doing things...but when it turns into "MY way is the best way", then I get turned off.  I also don't have a lot of women friends.  Too much drama. 

Busym... Busymama07

It depends, when it comes to health and safety it can definitely be a big issue. I don't go out of my way to be friends with people who don't put their children's best interests at heart, and as a result I have drifted from quite a few previously good friends.

Mamav... Mamavenkat

These days families don't live close by and we definitely need a support system.  I think women should not be judgemental of other women but rather support each other.  We have no idea why some people do the things they do.  Be more tolerant  and accepting of people and cherish friendships irrespective of their parenting styles.  When your kids have grown up and gone you will be alone if you don't nurture your friendships. 

1-10 of 24 comments 123 Last