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New friendship with non-AP mom

500 Views 5 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Dal
Would you bother?

This woman is very lonely. I feel badly about turning down offers to get together. She is not too bad with her son (he's 1), but I imagine it getting worse as he gets older. She does try to control him a lot -- Do this, do that, don't do that, no, no, no, go there, stand up, push this, say that, yada yada -- and I find this somewhat uncomfortable to be around. She mentioned today that she did CIO on her son for 3 freggin' hours (poor baby!!!). I wasn't about to say "OMG that is SO cruel and sick!" I merely said "Oh. I could never do that." Of course CIO took more than one night. After a couple weeks of hell he started sleeping through the night but recently he is getting up again. I didn't really listen to her details as I was too busy being disgusted.

She is generally nice and likeable. I don't have much of an urge to be a mentor to her and don't think she'd be open to that anyway. She seems really set on creating an obedient child who makes her proud because he is so smart. Her son and mine (who is 14 months old) don't have much interest in each other, but this could change in a few months or even sooner.

What would you do? Visit sometimes, but rarely? Not visit her at all? If so, how would you respond when she calls? We've only had 2 playdates so far and another time we just walked around town.

Just a point of interest: She casually told me that her son is allergic to peanuts. They've come over before and we eat a lot of peanut butter in this house! When I asked a few questions it became clear that she has no clue that peanut allergies can be deadly or that this is something that needs to be discussed with his doctor. I did tell her that much and mentioned that later reactions are often far more severe than the initial one. He also reacts to bananas.
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I'd make an effort for awhile and see how it goes. Sometimes it can be really draining when your parenting styles are soooo different. Other times you can find a friendship where you didn't imagine you could. I have plenty of non-AP friends, simply b/c there aren't that many around here. I either give my opinion or change the subject and try to not stress about how *my* child is acting since I feel the need to be the AP/GD poster-child parent at times like that.
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I have friends who aren't AP and who don't GD. I haven't generally had too many problems. Once when a friend swatted her son's behind, my daughter said, "Mommy! His mommy hit him! Oh Mommy! What a poor little boy!" She hasn't spanked him in front of us since.

Maybe you'll be a good influence
I'm serious about that too. When your non-AP/GD friends see you having success without punishing, they might respond by punishing their own kids less. I've had non-AP friends who previously thought breastfeeding was icky breastfeed new babies, I've had non-AP friends who thought cloth diapering was too much trouble start CDing after seeing how easy it was for me. I don't know how many friends have stopped punishing, but I have gotten comments from non-AP friends about how my daughter doesn't have many tantrums anymore (she used to have tons of them and they were loud drawn-out violent tantrums) and they used to say I didn't handle her tantrums appropriately. When they see that AP/GD methods indeed do work, they might become a bit more gentle themselves.
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Do you have other things in common? If you do, it may be worthwhile to pursue a friendship, otherwise, maybe pass?

I'm the only person in my little circle of friends who is even remotely AP/GD (I'm still learning - mostly just following my gut instinct, which as it seems to be, is pretty AP/GD) - and it IS hard. It's hard to hang out with them and watch them do things that are so completely backward as to what we do with our ds.
With little possibility of her changing, I could not do it. I have had mothers who I had been friends with for a while spank in front of us, knowing my strong feelings about it. I ended the friendship then and there. I will not have my children seeing others abused if I can keep it from them. I realize there are situations where I can't control it happening but I can avoid playdates with mothers who spank.

Now, if she needs guidance, might change, etc. I might consider it. I wonder if she is that hard on the child while alone. Could she be "playing it up" so it appears she is on top of everything and has a "good" child? If so, showing her your attitudes about such things may help her relax and be open to change.
Thanks for the responses!

Whether we have much in common is a good question. From my experiences with her so far, it seems like we have very little in common, other than our children. I feel that if I don't respect her parenting, what is the point in creating a friendship that is based on this shared trait? Would it even be a genuine friendship or just ongoing meetings of acquaintances? I don't care if my friends are perfect parents, and I'm more forgiving with friends I've had from my pre-parenting days, but having given it more thought my inclination is to find a nice way of avoiding her. Simon doesn't need to be exposed to her ways, which I expect will get worse over time. It may sound bad too, but I have ZERO interest in modelling a better way of parenting to her. If she were part-way there and interested, sure, but I'm not interested in trying to change someone who isn't asking for help. When parenting topics have come up with her, I've found the discussion awkward and uninspiring, and usually that's one of my favourite topics of conversation!

I'll keep thinking. Perhaps, in my quest to make my life and that of my family as ideal as possible, I would be needlessly giving up something good. Or maybe I'm just thinking that because it would be awkward to discontinue getting together with her.
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