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Seeking advice about my 12 yr old DD's BFF's helicopter parents

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hello,

 

I am looking for a little advice about my 12 year old daughter's best friend/ her parents.  They have been best friends since preK and we live close by, so these girls spend a lot of time together.  The friend is a very sweet and quiet girl who's mother is extremely over protective.  I am also a bit over protective, so we have always seen eye to eye on parenting issues and everything has gone well as far as the girls having similar rules, etc.  But now that the girls are getting older I am starting to loosen up a bit with my DD, while the other mom is tightening the leash.  Aside from the general inconvenience of this (she won't let the girls walk to a park or the corner store, her daughter is not allowed to walk to our house (we live 5 short blocks away), an adult has to be in the movie theater with them (like, not even in a different movie, but actually sitting with them), etc), I am starting to be concerned about how and when this girl is going to rebel and my daughter getting dragged along for the ride.  I like the other family a lot and I wouldn't want to offend them, but I really feel that they need to loosen up a bit or this girl is going to go haywire in the next couple years.  I don't want my daughter to go along with the rebellion or to loose her bff to it. 

 

So, I am wondering if there is anything I can reasonably say or do without completely offending and pissing off the other Mom?  I don't want to tell her how to parent and I would not be pleased if someone tried to do that to me, but I feel like I am watching the prelude to an after school special.  Should I just mind my own business?

post #2 of 14

I think I would not say anything. people get really defensive when it comes to parenting. If you daughter is grounded she will resist temptations that come her way(not every one though) and anyway,maybe the other girl won't rebel until she is in college anyway.  That's my little 2 cents.

post #3 of 14
I was way more adventurous and wild and rebellious than my friends with attentive and/or overprotective parents were, and my mother was totally hands off. I could do whatever I wanted. (I also was very responsible, got top notch grades and was very sporty)

Anyway, I don't think you should make the assumption that your dd's friend will rebel. I would guess that she will have a wonderful and close relationship with her mom. My friends from childhood who had "those moms" are much closet to them now than I have ever been with my mom. Coincidence?!? Maybe.
post #4 of 14

Trust your daughter. You haven't trained her to be mindless. Just talk to her about your concerns. Ask her how she feels about her friends rules and if she feels they are appropriate for their age. Let her know you trust her because she's proven herself to be trustworthy. It's a CHOICE to follow someone down the wrong path... not something out of her control. This friend may rebel and she may not. You may loosen up and your DD STILL choose to rebel... or maybe not. It's really about the individual and each respond to their environment differently.

post #5 of 14
This happened with my 13 yo and one of his friends. I never said anything and the boys spend very little time together lately.
post #6 of 14

My dd isn't this age yet but I have found that just allowing her to do things my friend doesn't let her son do has helped her loosen up too and the same thing has happened for me with some things she allowed early on that I didn't.  If she brings something up in conversation I just say I am letting my dd do that already and she does the same when I bring something up that she allows. 

 

Letting your dd do things like walk over to their house alone may be all you need to do for this mom to realize she can loosen up on the boundaries without feeling like a neglectful parent.  If you offer to have the girl come to a movie with you make it clear in your offer that you are going to be seeing a different movie or you will be picking them up afterwards.  I also believe that when a child is at another parents house they follow those rules so I am not going to limit my dd's freedom and I am not going to expect another parent to change their limits for my child. 

post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by One_Girl View Post

My dd isn't this age yet but I have found that just allowing her to do things my friend doesn't let her son do has helped her loosen up too and the same thing has happened for me with some things she allowed early on that I didn't.  If she brings something up in conversation I just say I am letting my dd do that already and she does the same when I bring something up that she allows. 

 

Letting your dd do things like walk over to their house alone may be all you need to do for this mom to realize she can loosen up on the boundaries without feeling like a neglectful parent.  If you offer to have the girl come to a movie with you make it clear in your offer that you are going to be seeing a different movie or you will be picking them up afterwards.  I also believe that when a child is at another parents house they follow those rules so I am not going to limit my dd's freedom and I am not going to expect another parent to change their limits for my child

 

For me it depends on the parent and the kid.  Is it a kid that I truly enjoy having around and that is good for my kid to hang out with?  If the answer is yes, then I am totally willing to adjust on some things.  But if it is a friendship that doesn't bring all great things into the picture I'm totally fine with saying "oh, well those are our plans, maybe next time!"   

 

We give ds a good amount of freedom and thankfully most of his friends are allowed to do the same things.  In 6th grade last year the big thing was to walk into "town" on Fridays after school and go to McDonald's.  Picture 75 kids all in little packs of 8-10 walking 3 blocks.  (Seriously small town!!)  One mom wouldn't let her son go, so she picked him up at school, drove him to McDonald's and then sat in the back.  It was really awkward for the kid and he only went once or twice.  I asked her one day what her concerns were and it basically boiled down to the fact that she wasnt' ready for him to walk around alone, not that he wasnt' ready to do it.  Sometimes "everyone else is doing it" is really ok :)

post #8 of 14

Just saw this and read because it accurately describes me and my best friend growing up.  My parents were VERY hands off, I was allowed to make my own decisions about almost everything from 14 on.  My BF's parents were strict, very protective, etc.

 

She didn't rebel until collage (and even then it was minor) and I always made my own decisions since my parents did a very good job of instilling a sense of responsibility in me.

 

I would trust your daughter.  Maybe talk to her about it honestly and openly.  Tell her why you are giving her more freedom, how it is tied ot your trust in her, etc.  :)

post #9 of 14

We have a similar situation with a neighborhood boy who likes to come and play with DD. His family is very overprotective and this limits what DD can do with him. We have had several conversations about this, and ultimately I think what will happen is this kid will just end up getting left out. We have other kids whose parents see eye to eye with me and as DD grows I think she will end up gravitating towards them more. 

 

I would not say anything to the parent. That is certain to not end well. Just chat with your DD, see how SHE feels about it, try to come up with solutions. Your DD may decide that being restricted is worth it when with this other girl b/c the friendship is that valuable to her. Or she may decide it's not worth it and end up finding new friends. 

post #10 of 14

I think minding your own business would be the appropriate course of action, yes.  Why do you presume that your parenting style is more valid than theirs?  I would be livid if one of my children's friend's parents came to me and told me how I should be parenting my child.  I am a very protective parent and I resent the implication that that makes one a "helicopter parent."  You don't know why these people make the choices they do.  For me it is two-fold - one I was abused multiple times during my childhood due to my parents lax parenting style and two - my son was almost kidnapped when he was 2.5 years old when I just turned away for a moment to tend to my baby at a library playgroup.  The short amount of time that I didn't know where he was (the attempted kidnapper was stopped before he left the building with my son) was the worst time in my entire life.  So yes, I do not let my kids walk to the corner store or to the park or go to movies without an adult in the theatre with them.  That is my comfort level, how I feel comfortable parenting my children.  I would wager that these parents feel the same.  If you feel you need to end the friendship between the girls because of it that is your business but telling them how to parent certainly isn't.  I also think it is ridiculous to say that this girl is definitely going to rebel.  You have no way of knowing that.  I was hell on wheels as a teenager and my parents weren't overprotective at all.  I am very open with my children.  I tell them why I make the decisions I do and why I allow or disallow certain activities and they are totally fine and understanding about it.

post #11 of 14
You say you're "starting" to loosen up the rules for your DD, so it sounds like this is relatively new. The other parents aren't on your exact same timetable, that doesn't mean they're in the wrong.

How would you feel if parents who loosened up the rules 6 months before you did decided that you were a helicopter mom who was definitely going to end up with a rebel who would drag her friends down?

12 is one of those on-the-cusp ages, where different families are going to have very different rules for a while. Just give them time.
post #12 of 14

Your concerns seem to focus on the other girl rather than how it affects your DD, so in that case I would be of the mind that you really shouldn't say a thing.  It is their choice how to parent, and as others have said, you don't know why they are making those choices.  To me, 12 is still pretty young and such a pivotal age, I would cut the other family some slack.  

post #13 of 14
Quote:

Originally Posted by Oregonicmama View Post

 

 I am starting to be concerned about how and when this girl is going to rebel and my daughter getting dragged along for the ride.  I like the other family a lot and I wouldn't want to offend them, but I really feel that they need to loosen up a bit or this girl is going to go haywire in the next couple years.  I don't want my daughter to go along with the rebellion or to loose her bff to it. 

 

 

 

because my parents were overly controlling and I rebelled in serious and ugly ways, I completely understand your concern about the other girl.

 

But it really doesn't have thing to do with your DD. Your DD needs to listen to her own heart and make her own decisions, and that is what is really going to keep her on track through her teens years. What one other person does is really very minor. Her having a strong center is what matters.

 

You can't control the other girl or her parents, and it isn't their job to parent their child in the way that you think would work best for your child. Trust that your Dd will always have people in her life who she enjoys and who are good people for her to have around, but let go of the idea that it needs to be this specific girl, and that it can only happen if her parents do everything right. That's not true. There are really limitless people it could be, and a myriad of possibilities for how things could play out for her parents.

 

Help your DD become a strong young woman.

 

Trying to control her experiences isn't having faith in her. She needs you to believe in her. You need to believe that she can see others do stupid things, and turn and walk away.

post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 
It's been a while since I posted this, I wasn't being notified of the responses and I thought no one replied! Thank you all so much for your advice and information. I decided not to say anything. One_Girl, I like your idea of leading by example.
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