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Fighting with the Mom of Your Kid's BFF

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Have you experienced a tiff with the mom of one of your kid's best friends? I have -- and here is my professional opinion on what you can do to mend the rift or leave the friendship altogether.

two women arguing

Dr. Michelle Golland: I could feel Maria's pain and frustration when she shared the story of her recent blowout with a friend who happens to also be her daughter's BFF's mom. I have two thoughts about this issue and have personally experienced both.

1) The friendship will heal because you both are actually friends and want it to heal.
2) The friendship will never recover (even with your best efforts) because it never actually meant that much to your friend in the first place (or she simply can't deal with ANY conflict).

Okay, I know the second one is really harsh -- but true. Often as women, we bond quickly and think we have close friendships, then soon realize that actually ... "not so much!" -- and you're certainly not close enough or deep enough to survive a fight. For relationships to pass the test of time, they will at some point have to deal with a bump in the road, a fight, a disagreement, low blood sugar, too much wine ... whatever! Let's face it: Fights happen, people disagree and no one is perfect!

You see, the real test in our relationships is in the repair. Do you pick up the phone, do you acknowledge your part in the disagreement and can your friend do the same? Can you agree to disagree but still remain friends and love each other, warts and all? It is the repairing of the conflict that makes us closer. If your friend doesn't want to repair the friendship, then it may mean you were never that important to her in the first place -- or she is unable to deal with conflict at all. In either case, I say it's better to not be friends. I certainly don't need people in my life that I don't matter to, or people unable to handle the bumps in a relationship. I am too old and too tired to be in high school again.

Now on to your daughter and her friend. In theory, their friendship should not suffer or be impacted by the waning of your friendship with her mom, even if it is due to a fight. The problem is not knowing how the other person is going to manage the conflict with her child. Hopefully, she will be mature and keep the fight to herself and not involve her daughter -- and then there should be no issue for the girls to continue their friendship. 

If it comes out that there has been an argument between you moms, then you can use it as a teachable moment for your daughter. You can explain how, even as adults, friends disagree just the way she does with her friends. You can express how you care about your friend and always will, but that sometimes friendships end. You can ask her about her friends and how she deals with disagreements with them. Has she ever lost a friend or worried she would if they got in a fight? How would she tell her friend she was upset? It can be an important moment to explain to your daughter about how to repair friendships after an argument -- or how to move on when the friendship ends.

next: Can You Really Love Your Kids Equally?
2 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous March 17, 2011, 6:23 AM

I notice that this article omits the third option, which is to apologise. I’m perfectly aware that as human beings we tend to blame the ‘other’ for the problems in our life. If two friends fall out then both will feel that the other did something wrong, both will complain the other is being unreasonable, etc. Sometimes, the best thing to do is listen and apologise. I understand that it can take a lot for an individual to admit that they might be in the wrong, sometimes the humility is worth it though, to save a friendship.

Autoclave March 17, 2011, 12:01 PM

Yeah, my friend and I had this problem in Junior High. Her mother turned out to be kind of a screwball and made a bunch of enemies at the volunteer group my mother and hers both worked at (they had been friends for a while before that). One day my “friend” came up to me and said “Don’t you see I don’t want to be your friend anymore?” And that was it. All because of her mother, who we honestly believe must have put her up to it. In my senior year of High School though, she started to rebel against her and tried being friends with me again, but it never really panned out. C’est la vie.

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