Becoming Friends with your Kids’ Friends Parents
There are many advantages to becoming friends with the parents of your kids’ friends. A brief list of these advantages follows.
1. Play dates become social engagements for parents as well as kids.
2. You can become aware of any differences that your kids and their friends may experience in their homes. If you think any such differences may confuse or adversely affect your kids, you then have the opportunity to address the differences as proactively as possible. For example, if you see that your kids’ friend Johnny is subjected to spanking at home, a practice which you do not support, you may wish to talk to your kids about this difference . . . without putting down Johnny’s parents.
3. You can have easy access to information when your kids say, “It’s not fair that we can’t do this! Johnny’s parents are letting him do this.” You can simply call your friend (Johnny’s parent) to determine if, in fact, Johnny is being allowed to do “this”, and, if so, what information formed the basis for that decision (Johnny’s parent may have access to information that you do not have). If Johnny is not, in fact, being allowed to do this, then you can correct your kids’ understanding so that they will, hopefully, not feel so singled out in not being able to do “this”.
4. You can take steps to ensure that your kids are socializing with people that you can trust. By getting to know your kids’ friends and their families, you can be a more involved parent for your kids and help protect your kids from influences and experiences that you would prefer your kids not have. For example, if Johnny’s mom or dad is a minister, that may be a wonderful influence for your kids to have when they are at Johnny’s house. On the other hand, if Johnny’s mom or dad is a cussing, tough-talking, active drug abuser, then you may not want your kids hanging out at Johnny’s house. Instead, perhaps Johnny should be coming to your house to hang out. (Note: ensure that Johnny knows the expectations of your household. He may like having an alternate role model and a safe place he can come to if he needs help some day.)
5. Parents of your kids’ friends can be a wonderful source of parenting information and support. For example, you can call your friends (i.e., the parents of your kids’ friends) to ask, “My kids are wanting an X Box. Do your kids want one too? How do you feel about video games as opposed to active play and reading, for example?” or “My kids are telling me that ripped jeans are all the rage these days. I’m not sure I’m comfortable with them wearing ripped jeans. How are you handling this fashion trend in your house?” or “My daughter just had a boy call her for a date. Isn’t she a little young? How have you handled this with your kids?”
For these and many other reasons, becoming friends with the parents of your kids’ friends benefits everyone. For more useful tips, visit Nannies4hire.com.