Childrearing

I Refuse To Get Involved In My Kid’s Friendships

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girls playing legos

You’ve probably gathered by now that I am not exactly a helicopter parent. I am strongly in the camp of letting kids work out their own problems and gain independence in a variety of ways. I truly believe that intervening too much cripples their ability to solve their own problems and be creative. I love letting my kids play by themselves, do chores around the house and work out their own sibling arguments. This parenting style applies to their social lives as well. Over the few years that they have been in school, I have refused to get involved in my kid’s friendships.

I can remember as a child having a close friend with a mom who was constantly getting involved in our petty elementary school girl problems. She was a natural busy-body and I know she even drove my mother nuts with the way she tended to stick her nose where it did not belong. We would have sleepovers that would occasionally take a turn for the dramatic (as sleepovers with 8-year old girls tend to do) and this girl’s mom would come downstairs in the middle of the night to check on us and make sure we were all getting along. I can remember thinking it was ridiculous when I was in third grade and now as a mother myself, I can at least (sort of) understand the instinct. However, it is not something I will ever put into practice unless I believe my kids are going to be seriously hurt.

It is a valuable life skill to be able to resolve conflict without seeking anyone else’s help. Of course when your child is very little, it is tempting to jump in and try to solve all of their friendship bumps but try your best not to. It seems so easy to fix the problem and take away the hurt but what happens when you are not around? It does not make anyone a bad parent to step in and try to make things right with their kid’s friendships but it does cripple your child a bit for the next time conflict arises and the only model they have for solving it is letting a parent rescue them. My daughter comes home blabbering drama from school most days and there is an ever-rotating list of BFF’s that go up and down in rank each week. This is normal. They are learning how friendship works and testing the waters. Getting involved would be a mistake.

Of course there are days where my daughter is sad about how an event went down on the playground and I feel for her. I comfort her and remind her that sometimes, friends have disagreements and that it’s important that she and her friend try to work it out. So far, we have not encountered anything that she was not able to fix on her own and I hope that is how it continues. I hope that her conflict resolution skills evolve and mature as her friendships do. I’m always here to comfort her but I truly feel I do her no favors if I swoop in and play the hero by refereeing the fight or talking to the friend’s parents. Conflict is a part of growing up and as much as it hurts to see, parents have to let it happen.

(Image: Olesya Feketa/Shutterstock)