I don't want to end the friendship, but I keep learning stuff I don't like - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 35 Old 01-10-2007, 01:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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She's a good friend. I met her through my midwife and I was so excited to meet someone in this area who had a more AP/natural approach to parenting. She grows and cans her own organic vegetables, raises goats and chickens, birthed all 3 children at home, practices child led weaning, babywears...okay you get the picture right? Now here are the problems:

She spanks her kids because the Bible tells her to and now I find out yesterday she's circ'd all three of her boys. The youngest was born December 1st and she took him to get mutilated when he was ten days old. I almost hung up the phone. Mamas I don't know what to do. She's overall a very nice person and we have some things in common, and I can't really afford to be that picky about friends because there aren't many people around here I'd get along with that well. But these two issues are major sticking points with me, and while I don't think she's a horrible person I DO think she is horribly misinformed but it isn't my place to tell her so.

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#2 of 35 Old 01-10-2007, 01:16 PM
 
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She's a good friend. I met her through my midwife and I was so excited to meet someone in this area who had a more AP/natural approach to parenting. She grows and cans her own organic vegetables, raises goats and chickens, birthed all 3 children at home, practices child led weaning, babywears...okay you get the picture right? Now here are the problems:

She spanks her kids because the Bible tells her to and now I find out yesterday she's circ'd all three of her boys. The youngest was born December 1st and she took him to get mutilated when he was ten days old. I almost hung up the phone. Mamas I don't know what to do. She's overall a very nice person and we have some things in common, and I can't really afford to be that picky about friends because there aren't many people around here I'd get along with that well. But these two issues are major sticking points with me, and while I don't think she's a horrible person I DO think she is horribly misinformed but it isn't my place to tell her so.
:

I think the bolded part answers your question. If they are major sticking points and you feel you can't discuss it with her I don't think you can successfully remain friends. I mean how can you look past the spanking especially if you witness it?? The circ thing is bad enough but I can see, maybe, being able to look past it as kind of "what is done is done" but even that can be a stretch. Everyone has some things they can't look past and it sounds like these are yours. It's sad when these things happen isn't it?? It is so hard to make friends as we get older.

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#3 of 35 Old 01-10-2007, 01:16 PM
 
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This is a tough one. Depending on how close you are/or become, you might find an opportunity to delicately bring these issues up. But, it doesn't sound like you are to that point. I know how hard it is to meet and *get to know* other ap moms. I have one built in (my best friend) and have met two more through my childcare biz, so I have been very fortunate. I am part of a SAHD group (I am the token mom ), and a couple of them are somewhat AP, but have some gray areas that are slowly surfacing and concern me in terms of their effect on my own kids. So, I have had a couple of opportunities to bring things up and have been both accepted and rejected. I like to ask things like, "Oh, have you read this book..." or, "Have you heard of Alfie Kohn...", then I bring the books or materials with me the next time to share. At the very least it opens up a conversation and gives them a clearer picture of what I am about. At that point, they can decide that they like or don't like it.
Good luck to you on this one. Real friends can be hard to come by. Sending positive communicative vibes your way!

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#4 of 35 Old 01-10-2007, 01:19 PM
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That would have been a HUGE problem for me as well. Try to educate her about circ and see how it goes.
But the "bible spanking thing"...well, that would probably be way too much for me.
Her poor kids ...
yulia.
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#5 of 35 Old 01-10-2007, 01:21 PM
 
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She's a good friend. I met her through my midwife and I was so excited to meet someone in this area who had a more AP/natural approach to parenting. She grows and cans her own organic vegetables, raises goats and chickens, birthed all 3 children at home, practices child led weaning, babywears...okay you get the picture right? Now here are the problems:

She spanks her kids because the Bible tells her to and now I find out yesterday she's circ'd all three of her boys. The youngest was born December 1st and she took him to get mutilated when he was ten days old. I almost hung up the phone. Mamas I don't know what to do. She's overall a very nice person and we have some things in common, and I can't really afford to be that picky about friends because there aren't many people around here I'd get along with that well. But these two issues are major sticking points with me, and while I don't think she's a horrible person I DO think she is horribly misinformed but it isn't my place to tell her so.

:
I could get past all of this unless she spanked her kids in front of mine, then I would draw the line. I don't want my son seeing that.

Mama to (DS 7) and (DD 5), wife to DH

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#6 of 35 Old 01-10-2007, 01:32 PM
 
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The circing is over and done with, and if that were all, I'd say let it go.

In fact, even with the spanking, if it was just your basic misguided parenting thing, I would say let it go, because you can always set an example.

However, when someone spanks "because the Bible says so" then I think it's a lost cause. All the gentle example you may set is not going mean squat compared to what someone thinks is the Word of God.

On the other hand, it does sound like your opportunities for friendship are limited, and if you want to keep her as a pal, maybe you're just going to have to be really upfront about it. Not the circ issue. I wouldn't even go there. But you could tell her how you feel AND let her know that there are Christians (I'm assuming that's what she is) who don't think like she does - maybe get her a book or something. Then you can take it from there.
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#7 of 35 Old 01-10-2007, 01:52 PM
 
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The circing is over and done with, and if that were all, I'd say let it go.

In fact, even with the spanking, if it was just your basic misguided parenting thing, I would say let it go, because you can always set an example.

However, when someone spanks "because the Bible says so" then I think it's a lost cause.
I agree. I would be inclined to let things be for a while and continue on as per usual, and if she ever spanked in front of you, or especially in front of your child, I would make a point to say something. Probably along the lines of not wanting your child to see people getting hit. Maybe use it as an opportunity to say "hey, if that's your bag, I'm gunna have to walk" (in not so many words).

If she sees it truly bothers you, she may not do it in front of you, which would be a great way for you to model alternatives and GD. She will have to find an alternative to the spanking.. and that's where you can help.

Over time she may learn that she doesn't "need" to spank.

The again, I could be overly optimistic about the whole thing, and you could just wind up in one hell of a confrontation.

I don't envy you. Good luck.

Frankenstein never scared me. Marsupials do. Because they're FAST.
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#8 of 35 Old 01-10-2007, 02:05 PM
 
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I have a friend like this. We were actually friends for about a year before we realized that we are on completely opposite ends of the political spectrum, and before I realized that she spanks (again the bible) and circ'ed her son. It's very hard to deal with these topics, for both of us, because she definitely knows where I stand and I know where she is. If this had happened early in our friendship, I doubt we'd still be friendly. But we had a strong friendship by the time we discovered these things, and although it's hard, we just don't "go there". Still makes me sad, though.
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#9 of 35 Old 01-10-2007, 02:30 PM
 
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One of my best friends voted for Bush. We don't make a habit of discussing politics, so it doesn't affect our relationship at all (except for one very awkward meal when politics WERE brought up.) But we CAN talk about BF and healthy foods and homeschooling and natural childbirth and we're mostly on the same page with those things.

She doesn't parent exactly like I do. She does spank occasionally but it's only used "as a last resort" and never, ever in front of anybody else. It's in her "parenting toolbox" along with plenty of other techniques, many of which are GD.

I'm certainly biased about the circ'ing thing- but I still say to let it go. It's not going to affect your day-to-day interactions with her, any more than my friend's vaccinating her kids on schedual affects my interactions with her. Even the spanking- the way SHE does it- doesn't affect our interactions.

So before I can give you advice about the spanking, I'd need to know more about her overall parenting philosophy. Does she spank her kids, in public, several times a day, or is it something that only happens ever couple of weeks, in private, when all other discipline methods have failed and she (or her DH) are at their wit's end?

If she's spanking her kids repeatedly in front of yours, it would be incredibly difficult to maintain a friendship with her or allow your children to play with hers. But if the spanking is occasional, and your children don't actually witness it, then it shouldn't affect your relationship with her at all.

Even if you decide to cool off the friendship, there's no need to make a dramatic exit. Just let things drift off and maintain ties.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19, Hannah, 18, and Jack, 12
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#10 of 35 Old 01-10-2007, 02:38 PM
 
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I'm really against circing but really the damage is already done. You can try to educate her on circ to save future boys. I don't agree with spanking either, but like a pp said, trying to convince her to go against what she sees as her religious beliefs probably isn't going to work. I'd probably continue the friendship unless she spanked her children in front of me or my child.

Zen doula-mama to my spirited DS1 (2/03), my CHD (TAPVR) warrior DS2 (6/07) & a gentle baby girl (8/09)
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#11 of 35 Old 01-10-2007, 03:32 PM
 
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I would let the circ thing go unless she gets preggo with another boy. I am also of the op that if she's not spanking in front of you, I would maybe give her some info and then let it go. Dr Sears has some great GD Christain Parenting info (I forget the title, if you enter Sears and Christian Parenting into Amazon search it pops up.) The Bible does NOT say to spank. A shepherd sues his staff to ward off danger, pull it back from the cliff's edge, but never to hit the shhep. (sorry, pet peeve!)
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#12 of 35 Old 01-10-2007, 03:41 PM
 
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I think you're getting great advice.

If she does get pg again, that's a good time to bring up facts about circ. Until then, I would evaluate the spanking, and try to decide how much it impacts you and your kids.

People grow, and sometimes we all need someone to set an example for us. Maybe you can be her GD example.

Can't give up actin' tough, it's all that I'm made of. Can't scrape together quite enough to ride the bus to the outskirts of the fact that I need love. ~ Neko Case

 
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#13 of 35 Old 01-10-2007, 03:43 PM
 
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parenting issues aside, how well do you like her personality wise? how well do you "click"? do you enjoy her company? personally, i don't have a problem having friends who parent differently that i do, or have a different religion, or are vegetarian even though i love meat, etc. i don't think thats what friendship is about. unless she's trying to spank your kids, or pushing her different parenting on you, i don't see why it matters... it's her kids and her life. also i agree with pp that i would let the circ issue go unless she gets preggo again with a boy.
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#14 of 35 Old 01-10-2007, 05:39 PM
 
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If you are going to line up those of us who cir and decide we are misinformed, then you'll be missing out on some great people. We cir because we choose to and it's a religious issue. As far as spanking, people feel really differently about that and it's something you will have to come to terms with.

Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.
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#15 of 35 Old 01-10-2007, 05:42 PM
 
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I had the same issue with a friend except it was CIO. I decided that the friendship wasn't worth it.

It turns out that moderation is the key to good parenting.  Too bad we aren't allowed to talk about that here.

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#16 of 35 Old 01-10-2007, 05:52 PM
 
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parenting issues aside, how well do you like her personality wise? how well do you "click"? do you enjoy her company? personally, i don't have a problem having friends who parent differently that i do, or have a different religion, or are vegetarian even though i love meat, etc. i don't think thats what friendship is about. unless she's trying to spank your kids, or pushing her different parenting on you, i don't see why it matters... it's her kids and her life. also i agree with pp that i would let the circ issue go unless she gets preggo again with a boy.
Exactly what she said!

That is something that I continue to be surprised by on MDC - there seem to be many moms here who won't consider anyone different from them as potential friends.

She uses 'sposies!

Her kids go to school!

She vaccinates.

She drives an SUV.

She voted for Bush! ok, that one is pretty bad...

I was in a mom and baby group years ago with dd2. Ten moms. Some rolling in money and some definitely not and some in the middle. Some early 20s and some early 40s and most in their early 30s. Some Republican, some Democrat. Some religious, some atheists. Some natural birth (ok, two of us) and some not. Some nursed and used cloth, some bottles and disposables. Some worked outside the home, most of us SAHMs.

Know what? We all had SOMETHING in common, and learned a lot and laughed a lot and got support from each other - because we are all mothers! We all love our kids and want what is best for them. Ok, we differ on what is best for kids. But how can you say that she is wrong for HER? How would you like it if someone you were becoming friends with decided she couldn't be your friend because you didn't vax or did practice CLW?

I had to stretch my acceptance of other people's decisions when one mom stopped nursing at 3 months, and another went on til 4+ years old. Neither of those is in MY personal comfort level. And it made me stop and do some judging. But in the end, I really liked both of these women and am still very good friends with each of them to this day (6 and 10 years later).

There are so many people right in your town that could be wonderful friends if you would be open to the opportunity.
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#17 of 35 Old 01-10-2007, 05:56 PM
 
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I know a woman who spanks with a wooden spoon because "Jesus wouldn't slap you with his bare hand". As if I believe he would slap me with a spoon???? :
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#18 of 35 Old 01-10-2007, 06:02 PM
 
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I think I know what you mean. There seem to be two types of Homesteader, crunchy, and fundy.
I have met people in the past that share my same values about "back to the land" stuff, but it seems we have totally different motivations.

I'll be your friend!
We believe in goats, garden AND foreskins!
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#19 of 35 Old 01-10-2007, 06:07 PM
 
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Exactly what she said!

That is something that I continue to be surprised by on MDC - there seem to be many moms here who won't consider anyone different from them as potential friends.

She uses 'sposies!

Her kids go to school!

She vaccinates.

She drives an SUV.

She voted for Bush! ok, that one is pretty bad...

I was in a mom and baby group years ago with dd2. Ten moms. Some rolling in money and some definitely not and some in the middle. Some early 20s and some early 40s and most in their early 30s. Some Republican, some Democrat. Some religious, some atheists. Some natural birth (ok, two of us) and some not. Some nursed and used cloth, some bottles and disposables. Some worked outside the home, most of us SAHMs.

Know what? We all had SOMETHING in common, and learned a lot and laughed a lot and got support from each other - because we are all mothers! We all love our kids and want what is best for them. Ok, we differ on what is best for kids. But how can you say that she is wrong for HER? How would you like it if someone you were becoming friends with decided she couldn't be your friend because you didn't vax or did practice CLW?

I had to stretch my acceptance of other people's decisions when one mom stopped nursing at 3 months, and another went on til 4+ years old. Neither of those is in MY personal comfort level. And it made me stop and do some judging. But in the end, I really liked both of these women and am still very good friends with each of them to this day (6 and 10 years later).

There are so many people right in your town that could be wonderful friends if you would be open to the opportunity.
I get what you are saying and agree for the most part, but no I wouldn't expose my child to a enviroment where physical violence was "okay".
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#20 of 35 Old 01-10-2007, 06:09 PM
 
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That is something that I continue to be surprised by on MDC - there seem to be many moms here who won't consider anyone different from them as potential friends.
Here's the thing, for me.

I don't have a lot of time or motivation to nurture a friendship with someone that has fundamentally different values than I do. I have CURRENT friends that I love with all my heart that I barely have enough time for. Perhaps it sounds cold & callous, but I'm not going to waste energy on someone that I'm not 100% comfortable with - and personally, I would not be comfortable being around someone that spanks or circs (unless she's changed her tune on that one). I'm very selective about the people I let in my inner circle. I don't need a whole bunch of acquaintances around for small talk - hence, if I'm going to have a meaningful relationship with someone, there are certain fundamental issues that we have to be on the same page about, or it probably won't work. What those fundamental differences are vary from person to person, but it's not about being a snob or judgmental, it's about being aware of who you dole parts of yourself out to, and why.

Also - my "friends" are generally people that I would trust to be alone with my kids. I would not let my kids be alone with someone that spanked, even if they're not spanking MY kid. I don't want my child to see another child get hit by an adult.
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#21 of 35 Old 01-10-2007, 06:20 PM
 
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Violence is not ok with me either. I would not end a friendship over circ personally but I sure would and have over spanking. Your being violent to your child in front of my child is a dealbreaker.

Take the time to heal from your marriage before you move on with someone else. Make a list of all the qualities you would like in a new partner and then work on growing that way yourself. ~mandib50
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#22 of 35 Old 01-10-2007, 06:42 PM
 
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I have a friend like this. We were actually friends for about a year before we realized that we are on completely opposite ends of the political spectrum, and before I realized that she spanks (again the bible) and circ'ed her son. It's very hard to deal with these topics, for both of us, because she definitely knows where I stand and I know where she is. If this had happened early in our friendship, I doubt we'd still be friendly. But we had a strong friendship by the time we discovered these things, and although it's hard, we just don't "go there". Still makes me sad, though.
This happened with my closest friend. They only eat organic, make their own clothes, homeschool, bf, etc, but spank and sirc. The have spanked in front of my oldest son. It made us very sad and angry, but since they belive it's God's word, their is nothing we can say to change them. We went through about 7 months were we didn't communicate because I/dh couldn't take it anymore. Then we ran into each other at Target, and missed our friendship so much we started back up. She knows where we stand, and doesn't offer suggestions anymore, and doesn't spank in front of us. We just have such a bond, like soul mates, we decided to each her own and focus on our friendship, not our parenting styles.

Aidan 8/11/99 Bryn 9/7/04 Jardin is here! 8/23/10 ~Kindness is My Religion~ Dalai Lama
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#23 of 35 Old 01-10-2007, 06:49 PM
 
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I think it just really depends on your relationship. I had a friend that I had a lot of things we did differently as parents, some of which really bothered me (CIO for example) but other than a few comments or conversations about it, I rarely was actually confronted with the things first hand and we had a lot in common in non-parenting areas of our lives. So I just avoided discussing parenting stuff other than to say what I was doing, or to offer a small piece of advice if I felt I could sneak it in. However, I enjoyed most of our interactions, had I been uncomfortable most of the time, I would have broken off the friendship.

Mightymoo - Mom to DD (6) and DS (4)
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#24 of 35 Old 01-10-2007, 06:55 PM
 
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Here's the thing, for me.

I don't have a lot of time or motivation to nurture a friendship with someone that has fundamentally different values than I do. I have CURRENT friends that I love with all my heart that I barely have enough time for. Perhaps it sounds cold & callous, but I'm not going to waste energy on someone that I'm not 100% comfortable with - and personally, I would not be comfortable being around someone that spanks or circs (unless she's changed her tune on that one). I'm very selective about the people I let in my inner circle. I don't need a whole bunch of acquaintances around for small talk - hence, if I'm going to have a meaningful relationship with someone, there are certain fundamental issues that we have to be on the same page about, or it probably won't work. What those fundamental differences are vary from person to person, but it's not about being a snob or judgmental, it's about being aware of who you dole parts of yourself out to, and why.

Also - my "friends" are generally people that I would trust to be alone with my kids. I would not let my kids be alone with someone that spanked, even if they're not spanking MY kid. I don't want my child to see another child get hit by an adult.
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#25 of 35 Old 01-10-2007, 07:02 PM
 
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I think that it can be interesting to have friends with different views on things than you. That being said, there are priorities that we all judge a good friendship by. If you are "friends" with someone that you don't llke to spend time with because you feel really strongly about something they are doing, that is not someone you can truly be friends with. But it may be one of things that you can work out and base your friendship on other things. I think it would be easier to keep the friendship if you broached the subject at least once, and she knows that you will not tolerate spanking in front of your child. And it may be the type of thing that you agree to disagree, but also agree to avoid. Good luck. I hope you can figure out what is best for you.

 
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#26 of 35 Old 01-10-2007, 07:10 PM
 
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If I were to only be friends with people with my same parenting philosophy, I'd be spending a lot of time alone. The fact is, in my little neck of the woods here, I don't know any parents who think the way I do. And I'm a lot more mainstream than many on here. Everyone-yes, everyone-I know has done CIO. I choose not to. I co-sleep, (although reluctantly, as per my post on the nighttime parenting board) and I don't know anyone else who ever has. I EP'd for 5 months, and was told repeatedly that I was nuts. Should I abandon all of my friends because they have different ideas? No way.

As for spanking. I am totally against it. I wil not allow it around DS. I argue with friends/family who are pro-spanking. What do they tell me? Just wait until your DS is older. You'll spank, too. Um...no I won't. I've left the room/building if someone is spanking their child. I will not be a party to it. Will it end a friendship? Probably not, but it does color my view of the person.
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#27 of 35 Old 01-10-2007, 07:31 PM
 
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I think it's much harder when presented with this scenario when you are living in a more isolated area. I was living in a very remote area when I met the friend I mentioned in my earlier post, and we both practically clung to each other because there really was NO ONE else. We actually differ a lot more than I thought we did at the start of the friendship, and some things really really bother me, but something clicked between us. I don't know what, but I can't just walk away and pretend the friendship didn't happen. Of course, she has never spanked in front of me or ds, and if she did that would probably put an immense strain on the friendship. But while she doesn't agree with some things we do, she doesn't force her opinions on me either. We just respectfully agree to disagree.
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#28 of 35 Old 01-10-2007, 08:33 PM
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I know that your kids are young and that this is an important issue for you now. But as time goes on, it so isn't a big deal. In fact, it's not even an issue.

I never discuss with some of my friends how they parented their children when they were toddlers. It just doesn't come up. I giggle thinking about asking my friend if her 13 year old son is circ'd

If she is good friend, someone that you care about - then nuture the friendship.

If she is spanking in front of you, you can tactfully re-direct your children from viewing. She'll get the hint that you don't parent your children that way. Perhaps it will make her stop and think.......

Trying to do the right thing with three kids and a hubby. 
ds20, dd18, ds17
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#29 of 35 Old 01-10-2007, 11:36 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dynamohumm6 View Post
I have CURRENT friends that I love with all my heart that I barely have enough time for.
I completely understand - and have said that pretty much word for word myself IRL many times.

What I find interesting is that I seem to continue to read posts from moms who have no friends IRL. No one to go out for a moms' night out with. No one to watch her kids if she has a dentist appointment. No one they consider a friend. That is heartbreaking.

I don't know if the OP has a zillion friends or just this one who has some different parenting practices. She said this woman is a good friend.

If the OP clicks with this woman, if she finds support in her, if they laugh together and diffuse stress and anger from the daily issues that can come up when we parent - well, I think that is pretty important and not to be given up lightly. I know that circ is not a light issue, nor spanking (it is also interesting to me that more people seem to be pro-drop her as a friend due to the spanking more than the circ).

I just wonder how any of us might feel if someone we considered a good friend dropped us because we nursed to a later age than they were comfortable with. Wouldn't you be hurt? We all make our own parenting decisions based on our experience, our beliefs, and how we interpret the data we find in our research.

Mama Poot, have you decided to talk to her about it, or ignore it, or end the friendship? I am interested to hear what you decide to do. I am sorry that you are going through it; I have been in different but other "possible friendship ending" situations and it is sad and stressful.
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#30 of 35 Old 01-10-2007, 11:45 PM
 
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i had a friend who found out she was prego.. her first reaction was to end the pregnancy...I was sooooo shocked.. but then she yold me she had one before..I begged her not to end this one...She ended up keeping and havign a prudy lil boy... and ended up marrying the son father.... but i loved this friend and still doo.. i had no idea what i was going to do if she ended it.. i didn't think i would be able to have her as a friend anymore....


I don't know what to say momma....... really i don't... good luck.....maybe point her in the MDC direction.. maybe we can help educate her....

We may not have it all together, but together we have it all , Loving their daddy, my hubby, our soldier
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