What to Do When You Don’t Like Your Kid’s Friends’ Parents

what to do when you don't like your kid's friends' parentsHow do you handle it when you don’t like your kid’s friends’ parents? What about when it’s the other way around — when your kid isn’t exactly fond of the children of your mom friends? In the past we’ve talked about finding mom friends and working moms and playdates (as well as friends with MLM businesses, which can be relevant here too!), but we haven’t really focused on what happens when you don’t like the parents of your kid’s friends (or vice versa).what to do when you don't like your kid's friends' parents

This problem will probably affect you the most when your kids aren’t yet old enough to be dropped off at a playdate or at a friend’s birthday party, because those playdates and parties will mean two or three hours of face-to-face time with another parent.

The reverse is tough, too: Maybe you have a great mom friend who shares a lot of your interests and is really easy to talk to — but once the kids are old enough to move beyond parallel play and begin to interact more and more with each other, there’s no guarantee that they will continue to get along or will want to spend time together.

One CorporetteMoms reader brought up another aspect of this in a comment on our working moms and playdates post: the complications that arise when you have to interact with moms whose parenting philosophies are very different from yours (regarding rules, supervision, discipline, food, etc.). Another reader commented that socializing with the stay-at-home moms of your kid’s friends can sometimes lead to mom guilt when those mothers talk about, say, spending hours making homemade organic baby food. You may feel that you just don’t have a lot in common, too.

Note: Whenever anyone brings up the topic of making friends as an adult, I think back to this 2012 NYT story, which is definitely worth a read: “Friends of a Certain Age: Why Is It Hard to Make Friends Over 30?” As the article points out, becoming parents can make the adult-friendship thing even more complicated, because, for one: “Even when parent friends develop a bond, the resulting friendships can be fleeting — and subject to the whims of the children themselves.”

What do you do when you don’t like your kid’s friends’ parents? What about when you have close mom friends whose kids your child doesn’t want to play with? Was your kid once very close with another child whose mom you really liked and then the two grew apart, to your dismay? Did your relationship with the mom suffer or were you able to continue it?

Photo credit: Deposit Photos/monkeybusiness

How do you handle it when you don't like your kid's friends' parents? What about when it's the other way around -- when your kid isn't exactly fond of the children of your mom friends? Working moms share tips on how to deal with playdate mama drama.


  1. Anonymous says:

    I’m really not on that side of things yet.

    But my mom never really liked my best friend / her mother when I was growing up. And I wish she’d gotten the (*#$% over it and been a little more gracious. My mother was annoyed with me the day after my friend’s wedding and was cold to her. I’m still ticked about that.

    I just hope I can respect the idea that my kid is going to have lots of relationships with people over her life. She’s going to have to learn how to navigate friends, classmates, coworkers, bosses, neighbors etc. And I’m not necessarily going to see what she gets out of (or endures) from all of these relationships. But that doesn’t mean that they aren’t people and don’t deserve respect.

    • My mom was friendly with all my friends’ parents until I was about 10. After 10, I’d say it was more like a few here and there (beyond those she was already friendly with), although she certainly never had issues with anyone.

      I haven’t gotten to the point where this is an issue yet but the one thing that I can see myself having trouble with is the whole concept of “parent friends.” It just feels so manufactured. Like you have a normal life with normal friendships and then all of a sudden you need couple friends because g*d forbid you just socialize with your friends in some random way that doesn’t involve an equal gender distribution, and then, soon after, you need parent friends and it’s all just so fake seeming to me. I don’t mean to say you can’t have genuine friendships come up this way but I think I have a hard time getting past the notion that the only reason we’re hanging out is that we chose to procreate at roughly the same time in the same area. I think I would have less of an issue with my kid being older and just having a friend and being friendly with that kid’s parent. That seems more natural. But with a 2 year old, it doesn’t quite feel this way now.

      • This shifts SO MUCH, and I completely get where you’re at right now. Around elementary school, most adults tend to chill out a bit and aren’t that into forcing friendships with other parents. Which can be an issue on its own if you’re hoping to meet friends through your kid’s school, but really — that need to hang out because you had kids at the same time settles down a lot. People are (hopefully) getting back to pre-kid hobbies and have more well-rounded lives than they might’ve during the baby/toddler years.

      • Onlyworkingmomintulsa says:

        I guess I on the other side of the spectrum here because I couldn’t wait for my child to start pre-k this year so I could meet parents with kids the same age as her. It is so great to be able to freely talk about kids (or not!) without feeling I am boring these other people to tears. And my husband and I are trying to make efforts to invite couples from her school out for dinner too. This is just me though, I didn’t have any mom friends when I moved back to my hometown a few years ago and am so happy to be finding them now. The volunteer organization I joined is primarily geared towards younger women without kids, so its hard for me to make connections with the time constraints having kids presents. Just interesting as I feel the exact opposite!

        • i’m in a similar boat. i am new in town and pregnant and while we’ve already made some friends, most people our age have kids so i am looking forward to becoming part of that community and hoping that it will facilitate friendships. i have lots of pre-kid friends, but most of them don’t live in the same city as me. for those of you with lots of pre-kid friends who feel like they aren’t interested in new friends, just a kind reminder that someone might be new in town and not have those same pre-existing friendships

    • I’ve never seen “parent friends” as a manufactured thing. It’s just that sometimes it’s nice to be able to blow off steam about shared experiences–same with “work friends” who you go to happy hour with. It’s also nice to have people whose schedules line up with yours. Obviously, that’s not true of all parent friends, but we have a gang of people who meet up at the park on weekend mornings when the weather is nice.

  2. I guess I’ve mostly escaped this during the preschool years by just … not doing playdates with families we don’t know well? My kids haven’t seemed to care much until they’re a little older. On the rare occasion I’ve done that, I’ve suggested meeting up at the park or doing something open-ended that has an easy escape route, so to speak, rather than camping out at someone’s house. That’s reserved for my nearest and dearest friends and their kids. I also don’t think playdates that last HOURS are necessary at that age. An hour is fine; anything more is usually as hard on the kids as the adults.

    I’ve had more trouble adjusting to the expectations of school-age playdates. A parent doesn’t have to accompany them, but you still have to deal with scheduling everything through them. If schedules or vibes don’t jibe, it can be awkward. I had one situation recently where I felt like I got used to provide free child care. The dad dropped off Kid at 12:30 p.m. and called around 3:30, wanting to know if his kid could stay at our house until 5 because he had stuff he wanted to do. Umm, no. Come back soon, please. I guess I learned that I have to be really clear about expectations with the other set of parents.

    I think there’s some value in my kids learning that other families operate differently than ours, whether it’s regarding food, screen time, or other stuff. Obviously I would want to speak up if I were concerned about safety or a specific activity, but it’s good for me to let go a bit too.

    Not all of my friends’ kids are buddies with my kids anymore, and it’s really fine. Our friendship existed before our kids were alive, and we can keep up that friendship whether or not our kids are friends. I think it’s harder when your friendship was built around the kids in the first place; those friends sometimes shift into more acquaintances if we didn’t have a lot else in common.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Even when it seems easy, it’s still tricky. We’ve got a handful of families in our neighborhood with kids the same age and same gender as our kid. They go to school together, do group activities together, the families all hang out at the pool in the summer, etc. In some ways it has made us lazy and insular because we don’t often reach outstide that group. Recently, we had situation where one kid invited all the others over for a low key birthday celebration and our kid wasn’t invited and was really hurt. It’s made things a little awkard. On one hand, I get that your kid should have voice in who they include, but on the other, why is my kid the only one getting the snub? Did something happen that I need to know about? So now my kid is worried that the others are hanging out with them, having play dates, etc. I think the answer is branch out a little more on who we play with, but scheduling that can be a pain!

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