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Have differing parenting philosophies affected your friendships?

post #1 of 41
Thread Starter 
I'm talking long time, really close friends here. Several people I've been friends with since our middle school/high school years had their first children about a year before me. So, naturally, they want to help me, give me advice about how they did things, what worked for them,etc. The problem is I disagree with about everything they say. And I have a hard time spending time with them b/c of their parenting styles. For example: Friend A leaves the t.v. on ALL DAY for her 19 month old. This child sits in front of the cartoon network probably 8 hours/day!! I have never said anything to her about it because I believe the way she chooses to parent is none of my business (unless a child is in danger, of course). BUT yesterday she told me in a condescending "I'm more experienced and therfore know better than you" tone, that I HAVE to stop holding DD so much and letting her sleep with us b/c I'm spoiling her. And then she went on a rant about how babies need to learn independence, and how she did it right b/c "look how independent my DD is." I'm thinking, she's just in a mezmerized stupor from that stupid television you stick her in front of all day long. I didn't say that, but I just said that I don't believe babies need to be forced into independence at this age and if she turns out to be spoiled from too much love and affection, then so be it.
Friend B has a real problem with our cosleeping. Every time we see eachother, she reminds me that someday I will just have to let DD CIO. I always tell her that I think it's cruel and it is not something I am willing to do. Then she gives me that big sigh and look of pity. It just kills me to go visit her b/c every time I'm there her 6 month old is screaming unattended in her crib with her bedroom door closed. And she just goes about her business as if she can't even hear the cries. When I mention that the baby is crying she says that it's her naptime and she always cries for a while before she falls asleep. She swears by CIO since it "worked" for her 20 month old who now goes to bed so easily.
It just makes me so sad that these friendships seem to be fading. I find myself not wanting to spend time with them b/c of the way they parent and the way they feel the need to "advise" me in my parenting. I feel I have been respectful of their choices even though I totally disagree with them, but they're not respectful of mine.
Have you all had experiences like this and if so, did it get better as your children grew older or worse?
post #2 of 41
nak
ahhh, yes it is so tough to maintain friendships with people when you disagree with how they parent. i have found myself drifting away from people now that we are parents. it is so tough, you dont want to tell them why you do things your way for fear of sounding judgmental, condescending, or holier than thou yet they have no problem blatantly telling you how to parent. the friendship with one of my cio, use tv as a babysitter, spanking, yelling friends was already beginning to deteriorate when I was pregnant, and then one day she went on and on about how i am going to regret cosleeping ( i dont and cant imagine ever regretting it) so i snapped and told her that she is cruel and a horrible parent. not the best way to go about ending the toxic friendship, but it felt GREAT! thats awful, i know, but everything i had been tiptoeing around came spilling out. i fellt vindicated. now, i am not suggesting you do this, but you do need to somehow let your friends know that you are not going to take their advice, you like your system, and you want to stay friends but are having difficulty doing so as they are always giving you unsolicited advice. i hope you can work this out, and i feel for you. i think we mdc mamas have all been through similar situatuons. maybe youcan meet some more ap friends whose beleifs jive with your own. i was able to do that through LLL, and my cio etc. friends and i have become more casual aquaintances as we just do not have as much in common as during the prekid days. good luck.
post #3 of 41
This can be really hard. I have it on both extremes. I have a close friend who we actually considered making our parent's godmother....luckily we didn't because our friendship has waned now that we've had our baby. She has older kids, ironically she APed them (or at least did so with the help of a live in au pair) but now that they are spoiled and have a crappy relationship she thinks its because of AP. ITS NOT! They totally spoiled these kids on other levels with material things and NO discipline. ANYWAY, now she freaks out on me all the time telling me not to do this & that. She thinks my son is going to turn out like hers if I give him too much attention & love. She makes annoying comments such as, "Well he's got your number all right.." as if he's a master mind manipulating us like puppets. We've stopped seeing her as much because it hurts my feelings too much when she says this stuff.

I have another friend who is a Montessori teacher but doesn't have a baby and she is AP to the nth degree. You know all those crazy ideals you had before you became a parent? Well she's got them, and they aren't applied to any kind of reality. She is seriously upset with me because we use a binky when Lucas has trouble sleeping. I actually stress out & hide them when she comes over. We use cloth diapers only about 50% of the time & she totally judges me for this too. She quizzes me about the way I do things and when she finds that it is in line with whatever she's read, she says, "oh, well you've done your reading so you know...." Needless to say, this friendship has also become strained.

Its really upsetting when you're a new mother to have friends do this to you. I always try to support new mothers even when I disagree with their parenting... Its hard enough as it is without people judging you. I try to keep this in mind when I disagree with other mothers. Its actually good to have the experience of being judged because it makes you aware that it isn't fair to do it to other women either...
post #4 of 41

friends

do as u see fit they can give u advice but u learn by trialn error i believe thats what makes u good parent to each there own.
post #5 of 41
I'm going to move this to a broader audience.
post #6 of 41

Re: Have differing parenting philosophies affected your friendships?

Quote:
Originally posted by mama2annabelle
It just kills me to go visit her b/c every time I'm there her 6 month old is screaming unattended in her crib with her bedroom door closed.
This just breaks my heart. I can't believe it goes on. How incredibly sad.
post #7 of 41
Yeah, it's the looks of pity from mainstream parents that really chaps my hide. And if I can bite my tongue about what they do you'd think they could return the favor. I mean, do they get a free toaster for every 10 people they convert to CIO?:
I can't say this has ruined any friendships but with most of my mainstream parenting friends, we just agree to disagree.
post #8 of 41
I have an old friend who does the CIO thing--and I tell her straightforwardly that I could simply never do it the way she and her dh do. That said, her CIO stories make we want to cry myself. Whenever anyone says anything about little babies' needing to be independent, I laugh out loud to their face.

But, I am not in their shoes, I don't hold the same things as priorities, and I don't ever expect them to be convinced of the merits of my parenting style.
post #9 of 41
Oh, DEFINITELY.

I had a friend once tell me, "You didn't turn out to be the kind of parent I thought you would be," meaning that I didn't make all the same choices as SHE did, and that somehow it made her feel uncomfortable. She didn't say she thought I was doing things wrong or anything, but she really came right out and said that she was having a hard time being close with me because of those choices. My understanding of that was that she felt guilty about not breastfeeding, about putting both kids in daycare, etc., even though I thought she was doing a great job and had great kids (I never said there was only one way to raise great kids!), and having to hang out with me just made her feel worse. Can anyone say, "Not my problem"?????? She doesn't talk to me anymore. Oh well. :

Also, I've had people accuse me of being judgmental just because I answer them when they ask me why I do things the way I do. I started a thread about that:

http://216.92.20.151/discussions/sho...threadid=57832
post #10 of 41
Yes. I had a close friend who followed "Babywise" as if it was the bible. I find that we are still "friendly" but not at all close. I also don't think that I could be friends with anyone who spanks consistently (luckily, none of my friends spank at all).
post #11 of 41
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the replies. I'm glad to see its not just me. I'm really hoping that our different views will not ruin our friendships. As I said, these are long-time friends that I've been close to for many many years. I'm thinking I should just bring up the subject of agreeing to disagree and not trying to change the way the others do things.
post #12 of 41
I agree with Lovebeads regarding friends who parent differently; we are "friendly" , but not close. there doesn't seem to be that much to share and we seem so different in our most fundamental ways of thinking. I think it actually comes down to different world views and values; like babies being inherently 'bad' (if you can believe that!) and needing to be 'made to fit a mold' of sorts seems to be what I find people on the othe side thinking. very weird, sad and scary.
post #13 of 41
Quote:
Originally posted by southerncomfort
I mean, do they get a free toaster for every 10 people they convert to CIO?:
.
No. They get a new pair of ear plugs.
post #14 of 41
Quote:
Originally posted by momto l&a
No. They get a new pair of ear plugs.
I just laughed so loud that I almost woke the baby. Like Homer Simpson said, "It's funny because it's true." And it's painfully sad because it's true too.
post #15 of 41
I think that if you have been friends with these women for so long, you owe it to your friendship to speak openly and honestly with them about this. You have nothing to lose, but everything to save. I'm sure they think they are "helping" you by giving you this advice. I'm sure their hearts are in the right place. Tell them how you feel, in a "let's agree to disagree" tone and see what happens.
post #16 of 41
i have a friend who had her son just 5 months after i had shoshanna. she's told me several times how we do everything "opposite" and once called me "an extreme liberal type."
anyway, we live 1500 miles apart, so it's not too big an issue. i bought her a subscription (2 years) to mothering, and she reads it and sometimes we talk about the articles.
if she tells me something that bothers me, like when she started CIO with her 5 month old who was teething, , i told her i didn't think that was a good idea and sent her some online articles talking about the negative effects of CIO.
we actually have said we would agree to disagree, and i asked her not to tell me about stuff like that because it upset me so much.
so that's that. we just talk about other stuff, and don't touch the thorny issues. she doesn't criticize me for being a weirdo who uses cloth diapers and nurses a 19 month old and sleeps on a mattress on the floor, and i don't criticize her for weaning at 8 months and spending so much time away from her son and feeding him junk. we're both trying to do the best for our kids, and we're just on different roads. in this particular case, the friendship was worth more than "being right" and evangelizing AP. i have however cut someone out of my life completely after seeing how he treated his almost step-children.
post #17 of 41
A weirdo who nurses a 19-month-old?!

Wow...It really IS amazing how different parents can be...
post #18 of 41
yeah, i like not being the weird one around here! i just blend right in, right?
post #19 of 41
One of my close friends had her son 9 mo. before my dd was born, and was constantly dispensing the CIO advice. It didn't have a major effect on me (I simply ignored her) until after dd was born, then her parenting style really began to bother me. We still managed to remain friendly, but became much more distant. I never said much, because I didn't want to come across as sounding judgemental, and she wasn't abusive toward her son by legal standards. Our friendship will never be the same, although we are polite to one another.
post #20 of 41
Oh yeah, on both "sides"

I have a friend who is totally AP and she was upset because I was less devoted to BF'ing than her because I supplemented with a bottle and had told her I planned to do this. She was pg at the same time as me and really into the IDEA of BF'ing and kept sending me stuff about "nipple confusion". Well the fates had the last laugh because I bf (except for my one per day bottle) for 18 mos and used child led weaning with each DD and she couldn't even make it 6 mos.

She was also really upset about me letting my kids CIO which I am sure some of you are too. But when my DD's were 4 mos old we used this (each cried about 5 to 10 min for about a week) and then were done, they slept thru the night thereafter. She was always telling me, "I can't believe you let them cry." I tried to tell her it was right for us but she was so contemptuous (and BTY no one I know who uses CIO does it to make the kid independant, they did it because they wanted their child to learn to fall asleep on their own which is a little different.)

ON the other side, my neigbor was aghast I was BF'ing a 14 mos old and can't believe I don't punish my kids and don't make them eat their dinner in order to get a treat.
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