‘You guys wanna come over for a playdate?’ reads the text from your friend. It’s the third time she’s reached out to you this week and the third time you’ve brushed her off. You hate avoiding her, but the truth is, you don’t know what to do. Though you love her like a sister you can’t stand her kids. They whine all day long like nails scratching a chalkboard and the oldest child treats her little sister like scum on the bottom of her shoe. Plus they’re bossy. It’s the kind of behavior that you don’t like your five-year-old around because she soaks it up like a little sponge. The last time they had a play date it took two weeks to get her to stop whining. What’s next?
But really, short of telling her that her brats are ruining the party, you don’t know what to do.
You decide to run it by your hubby because he has this wonderful ability to see both sides. He feels that you should stop letting the kids play immediately. “The fact that she can’t see her kid’s behavior as abusive is a problem,” he tells you. “She can’t build her kids up at the detriment of ours. Next thing you know, our kids are following hers. It doesn’t work like that.” It’s true though. One time her eight-year-old had your daughter cleaning her room. Get out of here with that!
But at the same time, sometimes you get a little sad because your friendship with this girl really blossomed in the past year. She’s strong as granite and has helped you through a few tough times. Not to mention she’s always there to listen. Can you just throw all that away?
When it doubt, get a second opinion.
You call up Dr. Edith Langford Phd. to get her take on things. She says that if the behavior isn’t too severe, such as hitting and repeating bad words, you don’t have to cut all ties immediately. “Try limiting the amount of time the kids play together first,” she suggests. “It might also be helpful to have purposeful play dates, in which you point out the negative behavior right when it happens. Let your friend know that your kids have been exhibiting this particular behavior and suggest that she talk to hers while you talk to yours. That way, you can try to alleviate the problems together.”
Man, you never thought of that! It’s so much better than dropping her like a hot skillet. Ultimately, who knows if it will work, but you’d like to give it another chance. After all, good friends are hard to come by.
What do you think? Is it important to distance your kids from bad influences no matter who they are?