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helping your kids when other parents are flaky

post #1 of 48
Thread Starter 

one mom stopped hanging with us because we aren't christian. and i do not "keep my kids on a short leash." this wasn't that terrible because the kids weren't all that close. but my son was still hurt and confused.

 

then another mom, who i was fairly close with, suddenly decides to totally change her life around and abruptly stops coming to our weekly gathering and other regular playdates. i have dealt with how i feel, but my kids were pretty crushed. i did the best i could to try and help them with their friends suddenly disappearing from their lives, but it was messy for a while.

 

my son still talks about 2 other homeschooling families we used to see. one family the parents split up and the mom moved away, and another family just suddenly sent their kids to school. (and cut off their HS friends)

 

i am concerned about protecting my kids. since i am usually friends with the parents i do feel like sometimes my kids get caught in the crossfire if the adult relationships go sour. it also seems like so many parents have trouble putting their kid's needs before their egos. i wasn't part of it, (thank goodness) but there was this tight little group of 8 families who met every week for a whole year and the whole thing blew up really messily and some of these poor kids were jerked away from their little friends with nary a thought for their well being. i try to be really careful who i get close with, but sometimes you just can't see it coming, kwim? we moved to the city so we could have a bigger "pool" of people to choose from when it came to homeschool socializing, but it still seems there are a lot of parents who need to do a lot of growing.

 

anyway, i wonder how do others help their kids have fulfilling and fun social lives when it seems like there are a lot of emotional landmines out there.

 

 

 

post #2 of 48

I think this is an opportunity for a big lesson in empathy, this sort of situation. I mean, it comes up in school circles, on the job, all sorts of places; your kids will have to deal with it over and over, not just amongst "flakey" homeschooling families. People's lives take new turns, and yours don't, and they move on ... and you have to be very careful not to feel like they're abandoning you, personally. Obviously we can't put ourselves in other people's minds entirely and accurately, but I think that we can put ourselves in their minds enough to imagine that they could have valid reasons for the changes they're making. To your kids I'd say something like "I guess they've got stuff they're dealing with that is taking them away from us. It must be important to them, and it's probably busy and complicated. Who knows what's going on, but it's nice that we were able to do stuff together this past year. Maybe their lives will change again and we'll end up spending time together some day. For now we're on different paths. That's okay. It's a bit sad, because we'll miss them, and they'll probably miss us a bit too, but I'm sure they've got their reasons."

 

Maybe I'm misunderstanding. I've never had a relationship with my kids' friends' parents "go sour," so you may be dealing with more toxicity than I'm imagining. But I think if you just stay really low-key about it, shrug, confess it's a bit sad, but that's how the world works, different people have different lives and it's best if we just be grateful for the good times we do manage to share with others, then in my experience kids handle it pretty matter-of-factly too.

 

Miranda

post #3 of 48

Thank you so much for posting this. I have had these feelings lately, but haven't been able to put them in words.

 

We had a nasty incident in our HS group late last year, and it has put all the kids and parents on edge. Basically one family was asked to leave the group. Recently, I have been trying to figure out how to help my kids. When to intervene when the kids aren't getting along. When to leave it up to them. It's hard because some adults are set in their ways of how to deal with it. And if the group of adults disagree, then the group can really fall apart.

 

Recently, DH took the kids on a field trip with our HS group. Apparently DS1 was being rude to my friend's son. His mom, who was my closest friend in the group, called me about it and basically made it like my child was this terrible kid. It hurt most because it was coming from someone who I thought was my friend. I know my child screwed up, and he and I talked about how to make amends, but I don't think he is a bad kid.

 

So I don't know if I have words to help you, but I guess I know what you are talking about.

 

I was not HS'd, but when I was a kid, my mom and my best friend's mom had a fight and then I never saw my best friend again. It hurt. And I wish my mom had just made amends for my sake. So with this most recent incident, I decided to let go of the things that this person said that hurt. I decided the relationship for the kids is most important. I think the best way to have socialization is to socialize with lots of different people. In lots of different environments. So we will stick with our homeschool group, but I am always trying to find ways to interact with other kids even if they are not HS'd.

post #4 of 48
Thread Starter 

yeah, i think not putting all your eggs in one basket is a really good idea. yup.

 

i'm sorry that happened to you lauren.

 

i am pretty amazed at people who don't think a relationship or their kids are worth working through a rough spot. this woman who claims she is still my friend told me "i've never had to work at a friendship before, i'm not sure why i need to start now."

 

blew my mind. i can't believe that her kids and my kids aren't a reason to work at whatever you need to work though.

 

 

post #5 of 48

Just wanted to say that this isn't just a homeschool issue. When my son was in preschool for a year, very similar things happened amongst the parents and kids there. It got pretty bad at one point, and I was so happy to be done with that. Fortunately we haven't had many issues in our homeschool groups, but then my kids don't get all that attached to other kids, at least not yet.

post #6 of 48

We made our circle smaller. We'd rather have a handful of good friends than a whole slew of flakey friends. I know that's easier said than done, but as my kids have gotten older it's been easier to do.

 

post #7 of 48
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2xy View Post

We made our circle smaller. We'd rather have a handful of good friends than a whole slew of flakey friends. I know that's easier said than done, but as my kids have gotten older it's been easier to do.

 


see, i feel like i need to do the opposite. since someone i thought was a stable, close friend flaked out. i think i get too dependent on people and need more friends, less "best" friends. kwim?

 

post #8 of 48

i have found that since having children, being friends w/ anyone can be quite a challenge.  i too have felt like we needed to widen our circle, but so far, it hasn't really happened & the more people i find, the less i want to be friends greensad.gif.  i know that i have really high standards for my parenting & for general living & that i think more than most people, even those who've thought about not going to school, not eating the SAD, etc. etc.  i wonder, as i type this, if this puts people off?  anyway, round about way of saying, i hear ya!

 

the answer - not too sure.  i think like someone else said, lots of empathy & active listening.  you can also let your dcs know that this is tough for you too, not just them.  i was friends w/ a woman who is married to a very conventional, mainstream guy.  she had a repeat c-section b/c he wanted to go w/ what the doc said.  she likely would have circ'd had she had boy b/c she wouldn't have won that argument.  well, she has never really wanted to go along w/ it all & is not happy w/ her daughter in school, but feels like she can't buck the system.  one of the last conversations we had some time last summer, was something about she knew i wasn't happy w/ her decision not to homeschool.  i'd never said anything like that.  but i think she knows how i feel about school & while i'd never told her i think she shouldn't be sending her kid(s) to school, she was just no longer comfy around me b/c i *can* buck the system, unlike her.  my oldest has been sad that we don't see her friend any more & i've explained to her that it is sad & that people's lives go in different directions, etc.  tough, for sure. 

 

sus

post #9 of 48
Thread Starter 

yeah, don't even get me started on people who feel like you are judging them because you make different parenting/lifestyle decisions than they do. censored.gif runs the gamut from people in stores telling you why they couldn't possibly homeschool, to people who stop being your friend because they resent your ability to not be cowed by the system. i don't even want to go *there*.

 

 

 

post #10 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by umami_mommy View Post

see, i feel like i need to do the opposite. since someone i thought was a stable, close friend flaked out. i think i get too dependent on people and need more friends, less "best" friends. kwim?

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by umami_mommy View Post

yeah, don't even get me started on people who feel like you are judging them because you make different parenting/lifestyle decisions than they do. censored.gif runs the gamut from people in stores telling you why they couldn't possibly homeschool, to people who stop being your friend because they resent your ability to not be cowed by the system. i don't even want to go *there*.

 


yeahthat.gif  All of it.  First, I relocated last summer and made the mistake of getting to tight with one person that I clicked REALLY well with.  Like REALLY well.  Her sister moved back from out of state and while we're still friends, it's definitely different now and I feel dumb and lost; and I'm realizing that it was a good wake up call that I need to build a NETWORK here instead of leaning on one person all the time.  The kids haven't suffered, but *I* have!!  And honestly, my son is SO tight with her kids that the idea of him not having them in his life anymore is hard for me to imagine.  And really, we're not NOT friends anymore.  It's just different in a way that I need to adjust to.

 

I feel like we need COMMUNITY almost as much as we need those close relationships.  We need the community for the diversity and continuity of certain things like play groups that allow for socializing and playing; but we also need those close friendships for that deeper connection.

 

And I cannot stand when people assume I live in judgment of them because they live SO differently from me.  Or assume that I think everyone should live like I do.  But that's because that's how they feel--because I have friends that are seriously night and day on some very MAJOR topics for my family and we just don't really go there.  We have enough other things in our lives that we do connect on to talk about; and at the end of the day, we both know that we all love our families and do our best for them.  We share similar values and our differences don't interfere with our friendship.  I homeschool and she's a former teacher.  She doesn't feel like I'm saying she's worthless because I opt out of schooling.  They vax and we don't.  We eat organic and they do the 33¢ mac & cheese--but we often share meals.  We share common values in how children should be disciplined or our faith or issues of marriage and owning a home or buying a car.  We share common ideas about financial responsibility.  And when one of us asks the other about something our families do differently--possibly considering doing it in our own home--there is no expectation that the asker will take that info and change.  And there is no offense taken if that happens.  It's really nice.  Everyone should have someone like that in their life.  :)

 

post #11 of 48

Can I piggy back this thread?  I feel like venting, too. greensad.gif  

 

I don't know why friendships are so hard.  Ds and I are good at it.  Other people, not so much.  Earlier this week, we were supposed to have a parkday friend come over.  The other kid asked to come over so I chatted with his mom and came up with a day that would probably work for them.  We parted asking them to email a confirmation and I expected to hear from them but we didn't.  They also verbally invited ds to the boy's birthday party a few weeks ago saying they'd give us the details.  But they didn't, leaving me to come up with possible explanations when ds asked about it.  Ds is old enough to keep track of these things, to know what day of the week it is, etc.  He was excited to be invited to a party.  We aren't good enough friends with them that we are relying on them but this is coming at a time when ds's solid weekly playdate has fizzled.  

 

I think his best friend has gotten bored of him or realized ds has a mind of his own and isn't going to just do what he wants the entire time.  I wasn't sure if I'd wake up this morning to an email from his best friend's mother wanting to get together or not since it is our usual day.  I didn't know if I should have snacks in stock or if I should clean, since it would be our turn to host.  It is just so strange to me that people don't prioritize their kids' friendships (his best friend's mom does but the friend himself isn't reliable anymore).  And it sucks that that my kid is getting put through the wringer. I would love for him to have some local friends so he didn't have to rely on his friends' parents.   And then, if he went to a friend's house and it turned out that the friend didn't feel like playing after all, he could just go home without another 75 minutes drive after having just spent 75 minutes in the car.  Yes, 75 minutes each way.  We'd do a lot for a good friend.

 

I keep putting us out there, hyping up the weekly local parkday, etc.  Unfortunately, all the kids that go are slightly younger than ds.  And he has a more developed capacity for friendship than most kids his age.  He takes it seriously and is very loyal.  I'd love it if I could get him around kids slightly older than he is so he'd have a better chance of having satisfying friendships, not just because they'd be better at reciprocating but also because of a better likelihood of shared interests.  His parkday friends mostly have restricted computer use or they are interested in more juvenile computer uses like Club Penguin or Poptropica.  One time we went to a friend's house (sadly for us he is in school this year) and ds spent as much time talking with the dad about Starcraft as playing with his friend.  It's just nice to be able to talk with other people about shared interests, sometimes.  

post #12 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4evermom View Post

Can I piggy back this thread?  I feel like venting, too. greensad.gif  

 

I don't know why friendships are so hard.  Ds and I are good at it.  Other people, not so much.  Earlier this week, we were supposed to have a parkday friend come over.  The other kid asked to come over so I chatted with his mom and came up with a day that would probably work for them.  We parted asking them to email a confirmation and I expected to hear from them but we didn't.  They also verbally invited ds to the boy's birthday party a few weeks ago saying they'd give us the details.  But they didn't, leaving me to come up with possible explanations when ds asked about it.  Ds is old enough to keep track of these things, to know what day of the week it is, etc.  He was excited to be invited to a party.  We aren't good enough friends with them that we are relying on them but this is coming at a time when ds's solid weekly playdate has fizzled.  

 

I think his best friend has gotten bored of him or realized ds has a mind of his own and isn't going to just do what he wants the entire time.  I wasn't sure if I'd wake up this morning to an email from his best friend's mother wanting to get together or not since it is our usual day.  I didn't know if I should have snacks in stock or if I should clean, since it would be our turn to host.  It is just so strange to me that people don't prioritize their kids' friendships (his best friend's mom does but the friend himself isn't reliable anymore).  And it sucks that that my kid is getting put through the wringer. I would love for him to have some local friends so he didn't have to rely on his friends' parents.   And then, if he went to a friend's house and it turned out that the friend didn't feel like playing after all, he could just go home without another 75 minutes drive after having just spent 75 minutes in the car.  Yes, 75 minutes each way.  We'd do a lot for a good friend.

 

I keep putting us out there, hyping up the weekly local parkday, etc.  Unfortunately, all the kids that go are slightly younger than ds.  And he has a more developed capacity for friendship than most kids his age.  He takes it seriously and is very loyal.  I'd love it if I could get him around kids slightly older than he is so he'd have a better chance of having satisfying friendships, not just because they'd be better at reciprocating but also because of a better likelihood of shared interests.  His parkday friends mostly have restricted computer use or they are interested in more juvenile computer uses like Club Penguin or Poptropica.  One time we went to a friend's house (sadly for us he is in school this year) and ds spent as much time talking with the dad about Starcraft as playing with his friend.  It's just nice to be able to talk with other people about shared interests, sometimes.  


I've been saying it for years, 4evermom. You should move to Alaska. Your ds and my dd1 would get along beautifully and I just know that we'd enjoy ourselves. 

 

post #13 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by TEAK's Mom View Post




I've been saying it for years, 4evermom. You should move to Alaska. Your ds and my dd1 would get along beautifully and I just know that we'd enjoy ourselves. 

 


That is getting more and more tempting!  Thank goodness for the internet and being able to meet like minded people that way, at least. love.gif

 

post #14 of 48

delete


Edited by marimara - 5/24/11 at 1:07pm
post #15 of 48

I struggle with this all the time - I think it's the biggest stressor in my life. I think it's because when you homeschool, your children's socialization is dependent on you. It drives me crazy! Our group is very small and I'm always cognizant of the fact that if the mom doesn't like me, my kids won't get invited to play. Also, if my kids don't behave according to the other moms' idea of what's appropriate, they won't get invited to play. It's like being in highschool again and trying to fit in with the cool kids. Add to the mix that I have a child who is 'different' and it's all the more pleasant. I've been told that ADHD is an excuse for lazy parents...by a mom who knows my ds is ADHD. Imagine how comfortable I feel parenting in her presence. Sigh. One thing I did that helped me is to work at developing my own social circle away from my children... I volunteer with a couple of groups and that has given me back some of my confidence (oh yeah...I'm smart...I actually parent the way I do because I've researched, thought, and made a conscious decision to parent that way). Doesn't help with the friends for my kids issue though. I just keep smiling and hope things will work out and keep trying to parent without being influenced by the fear of rejection. I, too, toyed with the idea of moving, but I love where I live, as a family we feel like a part of a community (just not of little people so much) so I'm just hoping that as the kids get older, they'll meet more people in the community that they click with.

 

Is it just women btw? Has anyone experienced this with men? I've hung out with men a lot lately and it just seems so much less catty....it's so restful.

 

I'm sure that if my children were in school, I'd be experiencing the same kinds of things, just in larger numbers. I'm just trying to develop a thick skin, keep myself open to the other hsers, try to foster opportunities to meet new people, and just keep on keepin on.

post #16 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by scoobymummy View Post 

Is it just women btw? Has anyone experienced this with men? I've hung out with men a lot lately and it just seems so much less catty....it's so restful.


 

Homeschooling is much worse than anything I experienced in high school with cliques!  People won't hang out with you because of your religion or lack thereof.  Or they avoid you because your ds brought matches to a park 5 years ago, lol.  I had one person go on during a playdate about how my child wasn't normal and I should get him diagnosed (because he'd get really whacked if he was overtired or overhungry and didn't settle down when she threatened him.  He matured out of that).  Sometimes I feel like people think ds is a bad influence because he goes in the creek and gets muddy or whatever.  It doesn't help that he is one of the older kids so more ready to navigate these things sensibly while other people's younger kids aren't.  He gets a little limited by being in a group of younger kids.

 

Some dads bring their kids to the park or other events, here.  Sometimes they overparent, worrying about how their kid reflects on them, especially if they aren't the usual ones to take them to the park and don't know how the kids usually interact.  Sometimes they just dig in and play with the kids which the kids love and the moms tend not to do.  Not much cattiness but they tend not to plan playdates or invite people over, either.  But it's nice having them at the park.  I'm more used to hanging out with guys, pre-motherhood.  They do seem a bit less judgmental about parenting as a whole, more worried about their own kids than other people's.     

post #17 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4evermom View Post

Homeschooling is much worse than anything I experienced in high school with cliques!  


Wow. Is this really a common thing?

 

Probably due to my remote location and the lack of other homeschoolers around me I've not ever assumed a local support group or social network of homeschoolers to be a necessity. I just figured my kids were no longer spending the bulk of their productive time in the walls of an age-levelled pseudo-community, so we had the world at large within which to build social connections, the real community. And that's what we've done. And so I've always been mystified by the importance homeschooling parents seem to place upon socializing with other homeschoolers. 

 

My kids' friends mostly go to school. My 12-year-old has a close homeschooling friend, but she's the only one. Three of my four close friends in our little town are schoolteachers. Our friendships revolve around our interests, not around what schooling choices we've made. That's been out of necessity, but thankfully it seems free of the cliquishness you are all describing.

 

Miranda

post #18 of 48


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 4evermom View Post

Homeschooling is much worse than anything I experienced in high school with cliques!  


 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

 

Wow. Is this really a common thing?

 

 

 


Not sure if this is common, but certainly my experience as well. Of course in highschool I was an outsider by choice, focussing only on graduating with high grades in my second language a year after arriving to Canada--so I haven't experienced any cliques, nor I had any friends, but it was an intense and positive academic experience. Now we moved to a place with a large unschooling community, and it is challenging.

 

post #19 of 48
We were pretty involved in our local homeschool group in Alameda for the first 2 years, like ages 6-8. A couple people in the group had been our friends for years already, and we made some new friends, and I did stuff to help the group out and I think ran the email list, so I contributed... well, I guess we were in a Phoenix homeschooling (or unschooling?) group briefly, before Rain was school age.

After that we did a lot of joining and maybe doing a couple activities and fading away, usually with Rain having met a few good friends. This failed in Tucson - never did get the hang of those people, but we had a homeschooling friend we'd known for years so it was okay - but worked pretty well in Davis and moderately well in Kansas City and St. Louis. The shared interests thing worked better after Rain was a little older, I think. Her interests at 6 and 7 were things like fairies and Greek mythology, so not stuff you could generally join a club or team for.

Some homeschool groups are cliquier than others, IME. I didn't find it to be mean-spirited, in general (except for one mess that ruptured an entire homeschool community), but more about what people saw as the function of the group. A lot of people who homeschool want to socialize with people they find easy to be with, and aren't really interested in stretching beyond that. Group activities (park days, field trips, classes) are viewed as opportunities to find those people. It generally works out well for some people (like, say, Rain) who for most of her life has been pretty socially agile and easy to be friends with - and during the times she wasn't, we were lucky to be enmeshed enough with a group that people were willing to stretch a bit for her and for us. It didn't work for some other kids who were more rough around the edges - there was one boy in Alameda who was teased by other kids and didn't really have friends besides Rain, and while Rain and I were friends with him and his mom, it was clear that she was needing to do more of the work of the friendship between the two of them.
post #20 of 48

Oh wow  I am surprised that this has never come up before but YES I have definitely dealt with this in the last year.  We were going to a homeschool group for just about 2 years when it totally blew up over a bullying situation.  I tried to remain as neutral as possible but unfortunately it was really hard, the whole thing left a really bad taste in my mouth.  So now we hang out with a smaller group of close friends leftover from the original group and our kids all play together and I feel like it turned out to be healthier for my littles.  I miss the togetherness that we used to have when we a part of the larger group, it really was a nice little homeschooling/mom-friends utopia  for a while. 

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