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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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I feel like I keep losing friends. We were best friends with another couple throughout college and during our pre-baby years. We drank and played games together, went out dancing, went shopping, etc.

Now we have kids and polar opposite parenting styles, and everything has changed. Their philosophy is that having children should disrupt their lives as little as possible. Their children should fit into their lives. This is summed up by the statement: "I don't allow our children in our bed. It is mine and my husband's bed."

The mother is sleep training her preemie who wants to nurse every two hours throughout the night. The kid is smart--he knows he needs to gain weight faster than other babies.

She is "vegetable training" her three year old. It goes like this: At the beginning of each meal, she puts a small serving (five peas, for example) on his plate. If he does not eat it, he does not eat. Period. It hasn't happened yet but based on my knowledge of her, she would never give in.

She did a similar thing when weaning from the bottle. He would not drink cows' milk in a sippy cup. So she gave him only cows' milk in his sippy, no water. She "thirsted him" (to use her phrase) into drinking cows' milk. She said one day he did not have very many wet diapers and she was getting a little worried but the next day he started drinking milk. Of course he did! The poor thing was dehydrated.

She weaned him from the breast at exactly one year. The week he turned one also happened to be her spring break from work so she "had to do it that week." Unfortunately it was also the week he got a stomach bug. So she just postponed weaning, right? WRONG! She said it was so hard to pace the floor with a one-year-old while he cried but she could not give in because it was her break from work and she needed to accomplish the weaning at that point.

I don't mean to judge her but it makes me feel sad to hear stuff like this and I just do not feel that our friendship is contributing to my life in any way anymore.

The worst part is her and her dh's "boys will be boys" approach to discipline. Their son is very aggressive and is quickly learning to be a bully. When we are at their house he bullies our son, also 3, who cries. They call him a wimp and say he needs to toughen up. They say it with a smile like they are kidding, but they're not.

Their son stutters quite a bit all of a sudden and they can't figure out why. Hmmm, birth of a sibling, lots of stress, little or no effort to accomodate his needs now that a baby is in the house. Example: The baby plays on a playmat in the front room with them. The older child must play in the back room. When he comes to the front, they say, "Go in the back room!" While back there he watches TV shows such as Scooby Doo. Go figure.

AND this mom has a BA in psych and an MA in early childhood education.

I feel like I can't be friends with her anymore. I have other friends like this who have changed so much since having kids but I won't take up any more of your time. I am just curious if this has happened to anyone else who practices AP and/or NFL.
 

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First of all your heart just cries for their babies - you know??
Sadly, yes I have had friendships that have fallen by the way due to these issues. I really think of myself as open minded and try not to judge other's styles. But we had a friend, who's daughter would beat the crap out of our daughter and totally trash our house. I would be very upfront with her - certain behaviors just couldn't be accepted. She always agreed that "M" was a handful but that's just how she was... mind you my personal view point was that her violent behavior was b/c when mom got sick of her behavior she spanked the crap out of her for something little. Anyway we tried to work out things like - only visits outside so the kids had plenty of space - never out of arms reach so we could stop a pummelling.. Then visits with moms only but by then our adult relationship was too damaged to really save... it was a slow agonizing death. I think I should have just accepted the new lack of compatibility and moved on sooner. Then maybe a door would still be open for once these issues were less of our relationship - older kids?
 

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Yes, I have had "friends"--those I thought were friends
: stop speaking to me--or, more importantly, not allow their kids to play with mine. I had a GREAT friend, I thought. The thing is, I'm not _THAT_ AP at all! Half the people on this board might drop me for not cloth diapering
: and for vaxing (a bit delayed, though, and we thankfully go to a ped who WON'T give healthy kids flu shots--but, I have to say, we had a hospital experience at 4 months that strongly influenced us--another child we "met" there, fairly long story). I believe in being home w/my kids (dh did it for 10 months) and I am thankful I can be. I believe in doing my own cooking, cleaning, gardening, and for the most part I enjoy it (not the toilets so much
), and the boys, esp the older (6) help clean and cook. I believe in severely limited TV. I believe in letting my kids PLAY.

Her son is STRONGLY disciplined (I don't know if there is spanking involved, but just "a look" will get that kid into line). Yet, he is a spoiled brat (IMO) who never helps his parents (though, of course, they have a gardener, housecleaner, etc) and gets whatever he wants. His mom went on vacation w/her parents/sister for _2 weeks_ when he was 2--leaving him home alone w/dad and sitters. She wanted it to be 3 weeks, but he "wouldn't let her". Dad couldn't afford to go (what the?!). She doesn't like him to get dirty. I think the dirt finally sent her over the edge w/me. My kids dig dig dig (they're boys, it's their job, right?), we have a veggie garden (she likes _perfect_ food), they rake and help mow, etc etc. She found this all unsanitary (her word). Her son has electronic games up the wazoo and is, obviously, the smartest, tallest kid ever. He has learned a lot from TV


And she dropped me! Another friend/aquaintance w/a similar style (add flashcards) hasn't dropped us. We both believe in letting our kids know people from ALL styles/etc, so we get along OK. We agree to disagree, because our kids get along great, and we generally do, if we don't talk parenting (but she does BF past 1 year
).
 

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I actually just had a friendship re-affirmed because of parenting beliefs/opinions.

Some background...I honestly don't have many RL friends, because I tend to be shy, and we've been in Germany for the last 2 years due to the military. I've lost touch with most of my friends from high school, because I'm married with a baby, and they're not...they're either still single with no kids, or single with kids, or we've just lost touch because I've been gone for the better part of 4 years.

Last night, I was chatting with my best friend (A) from high school on Yahoo. She went on to tell me about a mutual friend (M) who is pregnant, due in October. I asked if the friend was registered anywhere, or what she'd like to have, and said that I would buy something and have it shipped to A to give to M whenever they have her baby shower.

I then went out on a little bit of a limb, and asked if M was planning on breastfeeding, because if so, I'd buy her a pump and some storage bags, maybe some nipple cream and a book on breastfeeding. A, who is single with no children and is actually quite the party girl, responded with "Oh, that's a great idea! And, yeah, I'm gonna make her breastfeed just like I did with B, C, and K (other friends who've had babies since I left). It's just dumb for her NOT to breastfeed since she'll be a single mom with money issues."

We chatted some more, and I found out that she is the only person in my (real) life who agrees with me that my doctors probably caused my need for a c-section, who understands my desire to have another baby ASAP just to get the experience right the 2nd time around, thinks co-sleeping is a great idea, and ultimately wants to be a midwife.

I knew there was a reason she's my best friend!!! It was so reassuring to have someone I know, trust, and love re-affirm my parenting instincts, as opposed to telling me that I'll change my mind with experience.

Honestly, I'm now thinking that I might be able to get A. to talk M. into using cloth diapers, too. Especially if I gift her with a starter set.
 

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I haven't lost any old friendships while being a Mama. That said after I had dd I have made casual friendships that
I didn't pursue more seriously because I wasn't comfortable with them. Not always a AP thing, but a who we are as
people/parents thing. If it would have been pursued I don't think they would have wanted to be my friend that
long anyway.

Most of my friends who are Mama's weren't mainstream people to begin with. Most of us being "the odd one" in
the room at many gatherings. Maybe we were all more likely to gravitate toward AP ideals. We don't talk about it
much. I don't discuss parenting practices with most people because I see it as a personal choice.

Several of my newer Mama friends that I have made threw play dates and such wouldn't know what AP was if I brought
it up. They are nice people we have good conversations, and they have been there when I needed them.
I guess I am lucky.
 

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I don't have many friends who have kids yet, but with the one friend who was pregnant the same time I was, things turned out great. She's totally mainstream - thought cloth diapers were kind of weird, thought the idea of slings was weird, definitely thought cosleeping was weird, tried to breastfeed but didn't really know anything about it and gave up early. But she has such a wonderful, gentle, responsive relationship with her DD that I often find myself trying to copy her parenting style. I honestly don't know if they spank or do CIO, since I don't see them that much in person, but I've only seen gentle and respectful interactions when I've been over there, and she and her daughter are clearly very attached.
 

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I lost my friends just for becoming a PARENT
But I'm young, got married, started my family, and most of the people I knew are still in college, doing whatever. My life just changed too dramatically and I had nothing in common with them, and found myself becoming more and more dissatisfied being around self-serving, childless people. I've met some moms my age, but I end up having nothing in common with them, and I never pursue the friendship farther. Most people around here are very mainstream, and I have real difficulty explaining my side, or understanding theirs. But then again, I'm about to be a mother of two under ONE, so I don't have a whole lot of time to be "understanding". Maybe someday I'll have time for seeking out friends, but not right now. i'm better off alone
 

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I haven't *lost* any friends, but they have definately distanced themselves (and me from them) from me. They spank, CIO, time-out, ect. They laugh at me for GD, bed-sharing, CLW, CD, anything AP. Yet they always complain about what bratty, difficult, mean-spirited kids they have. Granted dd is only 16 months, so I have not come into the 'true' toddler years, but I am looking forward to them, instead of approaching them with the dread so many other parents do. I stay home, cook, clean, fold laundry, and plan to hom(un)school dd. I just smile and nod or as they say on GCM "Pass the bean dip" (change the subject) we rarely discuss our parenting ideas with our friends anymore. I used to be so gung ho about convincing them to AP (I cam from a very punative/babywise mentality, and finding AP was a true God-send) but after being made fun of, hearing the comments ("You'll never get her out of your bed""She's gonna ruin your marriage") I just keep my mouth shut. I do make book recommendations though...that's my way of slipping AP in there!
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Mama Poot
I lost my friends just for becoming a PARENT

lol, same here!

I, too, have lost friends because of my parenting style. I try to be open minded, but apparently they aren't. I've ended a few friendships because I just couldn't take hearing how "wrong" or "weird" I am for my style.

On the up side, I've also made friends because of my parenting style!
 

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I feel like I am losing one of my best friends from college. She has 4 children. I just had my first a yr ago. She does babywise, cio, spanking - everything. Her mentality is that kids shouldn't get in the way of your lifestyle. Left her 1 yo for wk or 2 vacation... Every time I call she seems stressed and espec upset/having problems with her middle child who is a DD. So sad! I have never heard her say anything good about this dd - just compare neg to her older son.
 

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I think that I make some people uncmfortable with my parenting choices. It comes up all of the time even though I make an effort not to talk about it as much! Our boys eat a very healthy diet, a lot to do with health problems. People are snarky about it... Turn it into how I am controlling them in that regard. They just dont understand that its our lifestyle. I also find that choices like extended breastfeeding, babywearing, cosleeping, not vaccinating and homeschooling can often make people uptight and defensive about thier choices.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by craftymom
We both believe in letting our kids know people from ALL styles/etc, so we get along OK. We agree to disagree, because our kids get along great, and we generally do, if we don't talk parenting (but she does BF past 1 year
).
I agree. I didn't mean to sound closed-minded. It is just, if you spend an entire friendship sitting around feeling sad for a baby who is CIO, and watching your toddler almost get beat up without any intervention on the part of your friend, then I think it might be time to call it quits. It sounds like you and your friend are not as bad off as we are though!

With regards to stuff that I don't consider as important to a friendship, such as whether she uses a car seat carrier or a sling, or disposables or cloth, I don't care. When I wear my sling or change a diaper, I get curious questions and gentle teasing from my friends but it doesn't bother me. They know I am the "crunchy" one and they accept it.

It is the stuff that really matters to me like CIO and discipline (especially spanking). It is really hard to get past that stuff.

jlpumkin--I liked the idea of laying low for a while or hanging out without the kids, then trying to rekindle when they're older.
 

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I've most of my friends who didn't have kids when my first son was born.

I've lost one friend who had kids after she brought her 7 year old son over to visit with us, with her.

Her son went over and kept poking with and at Elijah, I told him to stop immediately, was very nice about it. And tried to explain why he needed to leave him alone.. Now at 7 I'm not expecting him to understand everything but to have a tiny bit of common sense.

5 minutes later he does it again, this time upseting Elijah's brother, and started him to cry. I asked my friend if she could control her son. She said "oh he is controled he's just exploring, he's real great with kids." After rolling my eyes and wishing she'd leave, her son does it again this time poking near Elijah's trach. That was it for me, I told her her son cannot be messing with him. She said it was fine, "kids will be kids, let them play." My son in distress isn't playing, Taylor crying cause his brother is in distress isn't playing. I told her no, went over and grabbed her son, and put him over with his mom. I told him that he cannot mess with Elijah, that what he was doing was hurting him. This time I wasn't so nice. And his Mom got all mad and said I was over-reacting. At that time is when I said I think she needs to leave.

And pissed off is how she left. She called a few times but I've had to kill that friendship quickly. If she won't handle her son, she can't be around my sons.

It sucked in the perspective that she's really the only "friend" i had who also had kids, but I'll be friendless if thats how she's going to be.
 

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Two things I thought about after my reply and reading everybody's stories.

One is I found it's easier to make friendships with other parents after my dd turned 4/5. There were
more similarities between my parenting and other parents. Many of the things I did with dd that some
people thought were "odd". Or might have distanced themselves out of fear. Those things aren't as prevalent
after the infant/toddler years.

Two is that if anybody in my life that I felt was a friend made fun, or tried to make me feel wrong about
my parenting skills, I wouldn't feel they were much of a friend. Sometimes we make friendships that
aren't meant to make the test of time. It's one thing if they are worried about me and want to talk
about something I do that worries them. Or if they find something I do odd and they want to know more
about it. If somebody I was friends with kept pestering me with why do you do that, with the same issue
over and over. It would get on my nerves and kill the friendship quick.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Hobbes
I've most of my friends who didn't have kids when my first son was born.

I've lost one friend who had kids after she brought her 7 year old son over to visit with us, with her.

Her son went over and kept poking with and at Elijah, I told him to stop immediately, was very nice about it. And tried to explain why he needed to leave him alone.. Now at 7 I'm not expecting him to understand everything but to have a tiny bit of common sense.

5 minutes later he does it again, this time upseting Elijah's brother, and started him to cry. I asked my friend if she could control her son. She said "oh he is controled he's just exploring, he's real great with kids." After rolling my eyes and wishing she'd leave, her son does it again this time poking near Elijah's trach. That was it for me, I told her her son cannot be messing with him. She said it was fine, "kids will be kids, let them play." My son in distress isn't playing, Taylor crying cause his brother is in distress isn't playing. I told her no, went over and grabbed her son, and put him over with his mom. I told him that he cannot mess with Elijah, that what he was doing was hurting him. This time I wasn't so nice. And his Mom got all mad and said I was over-reacting. At that time is when I said I think she needs to leave.

And pissed off is how she left. She called a few times but I've had to kill that friendship quickly. If she won't handle her son, she can't be around my sons.

It sucked in the perspective that she's really the only "friend" i had who also had kids, but I'll be friendless if thats how she's going to be.
You gotta love it. Her kid is hurting your kid and upsetting the other one, her kid does not respond to repeated instructions to stop hurting your child, you finally take charge as an adult and remove a child from a situation that he obviously cannot control (himself) and YOU'RE overreacting?

Some people just dont live on this planet.
:
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by DQMama
I agree. I didn't mean to sound closed-minded. It is just, if you spend an entire friendship sitting around feeling sad for a baby who is CIO, and watching your toddler almost get beat up without any intervention on the part of your friend, then I think it might be time to call it quits. It sounds like you and your friend are not as bad off as we are though!
.
Sorry! That was 2 different friends--one dropped me (she of the unsanitary dirt)--her son was my older ds's friend. The other I am still friends with (we'll never be best friends, but that's mutually understood, I think, we are just too different), her older is my younger ds's friend. It's actually kind of funny that I confused you (maybe I should go read/edit my original post) because those 2 women's kids have the same name, which actually creates a lot of confusion in my house!
 

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I actually haven't, but then I have only 4 friends with children...1 is pretty much AP, 1 is in the middle, 1 lives in Oregon and we don't see each other much but she's somewhat in the middle, leaning more towards mainstream, and the last one is a card-carrying mainstreamer.

It's the last one I've started distancing myself more and more.

I liked what Village Mama said

Quote:
I also find that choices like extended breastfeeding, babywearing, cosleeping, not vaccinating and homeschooling can often make people uptight and defensive about thier choices.
This is this person to a T.

To the OP, I'd drop the friendship. Not everyone has to think like me and I can let some things slide....but making a preemie sleep train, the horrid way she feeds her kids, and the cruel way she weaned her son is enough to make me back far far away.
 

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We've already lost one couple because of their parenting style and we don't even have a child yet! We just cannot condone how they are raising their children and refuse to be around them after several very bad experiences. We'll see them without their children in group settings but we really try and avoid family activities. I think they think they are doing gentle parenting but it really means that the children are allowed to run wild, doing anything they want. On several occassions I've seen other adults or had to come to their rescue myself so they don't hurt themselves while the parents sit there doing nothing.
:

I'm guessing that unless it is a situation where their children are causing way too much distress or harm to my children and/or environment it will be a lot like politics - just don't discuss it in mixed company. But if it is a situation where their children's behavior and/or their parenting style is interfering with my children then yes, I could see distancing myself from the friendship.
 

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Yes I have lost friends from being a PARENT and for being an extended-breastfeeding, AP mama. I am not even that much of a crunchy hippie mama (I try though!) and my mainstream friends think I am nuts and give me lectures on the necessity of cow's milk, CIO, and leaving a child with other kids at daycare for socialization.

I am surprised that I have lost friends based on my parenting style .... didn't expect this to happen.
:
 

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Well, we don't really have any RL friends who live nearby. And all our RL friends didn't even become parents until 2001, while we had our son in '96. We're shy about getting out there and trying to make friends, and we're very close to our families. Again, though, any sibs who have kids didn't start having them until 2000/2001.

I have friends, both RL and online, who all have different approaches to parenting. Some of us have breastfed, some haven't. Some mamas work many, many hours whether they really need to or not (more of a personal fulfillment thing) , some have worked, either PT or FT, out of need, and some have chosen to stay home with their kids. I think we've done the most AP things...cosleeping, extended breastfeeding, sling and carrier use, out of anyone, and we are also the only ones to have used cloth diapers. We homeschool while no one else does (except for dh's one sister and her dh).

I'd love to garden and buy organic/free-range, but property and financial limitations prevent this (we rent and organic/free-range is very often too expensive for us, plus there are no big markets like the former Fresh Fields anywhere near us).

I'm not quite as crunchy as some other moms on MDC, I guess (never mind that I'm Catholic, traditionally minded, and pro-life, which makes me wonder if there is any place here for my type), but I know I'm crunchier than some other people I know. I haven't decided if I fit in here well enough to stay, but time will tell.

My point (and there is one) is that for the most part, we just kind of "go with the flow" with friends on most issues. Perhaps our being so far away from all our friends helps in this matter. Maybe if we were around each other all the time it would create more problems. However, I think most of it is because of my firm belief that parents need to do what is right for them and for their children in particular, especially regarding things like extended breastfeeding, breastfeeding in general, co-sleeping, cloth-diapering, etc. Discipline styles and sleep training could get pretty hairy, but I think for the most part most of us are on the same plane there.

We did, however, have a big issue about 5-1/2 years ago with my dh's sister and her husband. She had written us to catch up, then talked about how they were trying to get their dd, then about 8 mos, to sleep in her crib, on her own. She was so upset because their dd would cry and crawl to the end of her crib and keep crying, and it was breaking my sis-in-law's heart.

Dh & I are very much not the types to let our kids cry it out, to ferberize them, any of that. Dh has bachelor's in Psych and is working on his Master's. He really got on his sister about how harmful letting their daughter CIO could become. I later wrote a gentler email with my concerns. Wow. They were so offended by that! She was hurt that we'd give her a hard time, and said their daughter was plenty loved and not being hurt and blah blah blah. I'm afraid for a number of years, there was really a lot of tension there.

We all seem pretty aware of our parenting differences. Her dh went to a military college and is a reservist, and both are uber organized and unbending on schedules. They decided to continue with either never having their babes in bed with them anymore, or moving them to a crib pretty early on. She's weaned from breastfeeding at a year or so, while we go longer here. When they first found out that they were expecting #1, they commented that someone had given them a book, and in it the author was probably recommending CLW, but they worded it, "oh, man...some of those books out there that tell you to breastfeed until your kid is in school!" While that much extended breastfeeding is not for me (my comfort zone is until about 3 years old), it was a general sense that they had an issue with extended breastfeeding at all.

Anyway, these days, we pretty much just steer away from parenting discussions with them and just know that we are two very different couples. It brings much more peace the rare times we see them (we are in PA and they are in NC), but my dh & I are always aware of it.

It's hard when you get to where you and friends or family have very different parenting styles. It's not impossible to remain friends for me, in most cases, when dealing with most issues, but it can be difficult and then decisions need to be made.

Sorry you're having to go through this!

JET
 
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