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Do you get involved in your DC's friendships?

(24 Posts)
KitchenBandAid Sat 12-Sep-20 07:07:11

Last week I was berated and told I was a crap parent because I responded to another parent that I was not getting involved in my DC's friendships. DC, year 8 is a very independent, happy go lucky and friendly child with lots of friends. I've never had any feedback that they are badly behaved or have ever picked on anyone.

As with any relationship DC has good days and bad days with their friends. One minute they are best mates, the next they are hanging out with someone else and then they come home and say this person said this etc. etc. I have 2 older DC and I've seen it all before.

One of the parents is constantly giving me feedback that my DC has done this, that and the other. It is actually really minor stuff. It's as simple as something like "wow, interesting choice in shoes". Honestly, it is that minor.

I told the other parent that I am not getting involved in stuff like this and have been told that I am a slack parent. I let my DC sort their own stuff out, not because I'm not interested but because I am 3 DC in and I think it is in their own interests to do so. My DC can hold their own and I don't need to hover over them.

Do you get involved with your DC's relationships in Senior School?

OP’s posts: |
whiskybysidedoor Sat 12-Sep-20 07:15:04

Unless something extreme or particularly upsetting was disclosed to me, no I absolutely wouldn’t. Part of school at that age is learning how to manage relationships and intervening over little things would counterproductive.

I’m sorry you’ve got that other parent on your back, if I was you I’d just politely try to bat it off. You could send a note to the teacher just along the lines that other parent has raised a few issues, they seem minor to you and you aren’t getting involved but if there is anything you need to be involved in for them to let you know.

BorisandHarriet Sat 12-Sep-20 07:18:42

Sounds like your DC isn’t all that nice sometimes. We have encountered friends like this who may come across as really nice and polite etc but make cutting comments all the time and put others down, maybe without even realising that it’s upsetting others. I wouldn’t contact the other parent unless it got worse but if someone contacted me about it and said my DC was doing this, that and the other I’d be talking to my own child and telling them not to be making judgey comments on other people’s shoes or whatever they’ve done.

taradiddle Sat 12-Sep-20 07:35:09

I have a DC the same age. I don't get involved in friendships, but equally I don't recognise your description of the on again off again friendship stuff. Sorry if it sounds harsh, but that all sounds a bit primary school to me. Sure, DS has people he likes more than others, and friendships change over time, but all the kids ar school just generally get on with each other or are at least civil to each other, as far as I can tell - I haven't heard about any significant fallings out, or "you were my best friend yesterday but you're not today' nonsense. So maybe it's worth having a gentle chat about it all, and about everyone growing up a bit and learning to play nice? Doesn't mean your DC is the problem, but they might be able to be part of the solution.

KitchenBandAid Sat 12-Sep-20 07:50:15

DC isn't perfect and I've been told all the comments they've made, because I've asked, and it amounts to a handful over 1 year. Other parent contacts me about everything such as, your DC didn't wait for mine to get the bus, didn't want to sit next to them on the coach on a trip and their DC is upset.

I have checked with the teacher both this and last year and they say DC is kind to everyone.

OP’s posts: |
PettsWoodParadise Sat 12-Sep-20 08:42:36

I only get involved to facilitate eg driving DD somewhere if she can’t travel on her own, feeding the hungry hoardes if they come to our house. I encourage DD to talk about any concerns but then let her sort out any issues once she’s had some advice.

I did get calls from one parent in Y7 who was upset that his DD wasn’t invited round to our house and when I pointed out no one had been at that stage he said his daughter really wanted to be friends. He was a bit intense but meant well for his DD and as an immigrant family had asked his DD who spoke most nicely (like the Queen apparently grin) in the class and got our DD’s name. It was weird, but once we sorted that out we agreed not to force things and let things develop naturally.

DD did have a young drivers party when she was 13 and I texted parents about it and my number in case they had any questions but that was more a H&S thing.

BorisandHarriet Sat 12-Sep-20 11:56:02

Having read your second post the other parent sounds like a nightmare. Those are all such petty silly things to bring up. It’s the kind of crap my kids might come home and moan to me about (that x friend hadn’t waited for them) but I’d never bring it up with the parent as it’s so insignificant. I’d only mention it if there was ongoing actual unkindness and even then I’d stay out of it as long as possible.

Malmontar Sat 12-Sep-20 12:07:34

Gosh if my mum had got so intensely involved in my friendships in Y8 she would've got a heart attack. Y8/9 girls can be catty and oversensitive. I was at war with one girl during those years only to be best friends with her in Y11. I think you're doing the right thing by letting her grow into her own person and only intervening if it's something serious like if you suspect her of being unreasonably cruel/bullying.

The other girl might've experienced bullying in the past and the mum might just be very sensitive and careful.

Biscuitsneeded Sat 12-Sep-20 12:16:34

No. The other parent sounds hard work. I try generally to have chats with mine eg in the car where I say if there is any nastiness going on I would be really disappointed if they got involved. That message seems to have been absorbed. And if they say people are unkind to them I say just walk away, ignore, don't give them a reaction and find other people to hang out with. All teenagers have their moments but luckily they grow up and move on, and you'd like to think grown women would have better things to do than get involved in friendship squabbles. Real bullying is different, but in that case I wouldn't engage with the parent at all. One of my DC was systematically bullied by a group of boys who have since been excluded. I went to the school and they dealt with it - I have no need or wish to interact with the other kids' parents.

TeenPlusTwenties Sat 12-Sep-20 13:40:25

No I don't.

But having got a DD who has been in receipt of 'interesting choice of shoes' comments regularly, you shouldn't under estimate how debilitating this kind of micro aggressions can become as they build up.

If I were the other parent I'd be recommending their child avoids yours tbh.

Malmontar Sat 12-Sep-20 14:24:33

I didn't read the complaint properly.
If someone was going to my daughter saying interesting choice of shoes I wouldn't contact you, I would ask her to avoid your daughter as she sounds like a bit of a bully.

JoanJosephJim Sat 12-Sep-20 16:38:36

If I was the other parent I would be telling them that we teach people how to treat us, ie if they are a shithead toward you and you still want to be friends then they are going to continue to be a shithead toward you. I would be encouraging my child to drop your child like a hot rock.

Although you say you don't get involved I think you should have a conversation with your son to tell him that he being perceived as a bit of a shit and he might want to think about his behaviour and why he needs to comment on someone else's choice of shoes. I do this with 8 year olds.

Also how do you know that your son didn't agree to wait for the other boy and agree to sit on the coach with him only to deliberately leave him behind to belittle him and make him feel crap?

I don't recognise the best mates and fall out thing either unless someone intentionally does this hot and cold routine for cruel reasons. And teachers don't see everything.

MentalLockdown Sat 12-Sep-20 17:01:11

Is your DD top of the class? Competitive?

If so it's tough being the one everyone wants to beat and it can make that child anxious and always on the defensive/attack.

DD was friends with such a kid in year 7 who had to 'win' everything. Even shoe choice would be ranked - 'no offence, but' 'hope you don't mind me saying but'

My DD left the group, found other friends. By yr10 it all exploded, the competitive kid has got more and more anxious, finally everyone got fed up of being always being 'second' in hair length, equipment choice, etc and the poor kid has had to create a whole new social group with the nice, kind but weaker girls in the year.

Its been interesting as a distant observer, the one mum who did try to tackle the anxious, competitive behaviour with the girls parent was absolutely flamed so no one dared go there again!

KitchenBandAid Sat 12-Sep-20 21:03:04

Interesting that a lot of you think my DC is a girl. I've not said that anywhere. It's a boy.

OP’s posts: |
Pipandmum Sat 12-Sep-20 21:07:56

No. However if multiple parents are saying negative things about your child's behaviour maybe something is going on - I'd interfere if I thought my child was a bully for example. Otherwise I let them deal with things themselves.

Malmontar Sat 12-Sep-20 21:35:20

Oh I only said it because my DC is a girl in Y8 and I was answering from my perspective. I don't think it makes a difference what sex they are although these situations are probably more common in girls as they're more likely to go to their parents and complain. Just my experience though.

reluctantbrit Sat 12-Sep-20 21:37:51

I do check DD’s WhatsApp messages as she can sometimes very blunt and we talk about how it is seen by others. That a general point with her though.

We had one incident last autumn where she ended being piggy in the middle when others in her friendship group fell out and she didn’t know what to do. They are too young to navigate these things on their own but it is more about teaching strategies than solving it for them.

I have the contact details for one parent as DD is there a bit more, we had sleepovers and took their DD out but we only talk about practicalities not the girls’ social stuff.

whiteroseredrose Sat 12-Sep-20 21:50:05

Like you I've let both DC work out their own friendships since secondary school.

I've been a sounding board or shoulder to cry on if there have been problems, but I wouldn't be calling other parents unless there was a very big issue. I'd just suggest they moved on.

Pacif1cDogwood Sat 12-Sep-20 21:53:15

No, I don't get involved.
Largely because it's pointless grin - at that age their peer group is far more important to them than their parents, well, at least superficially so.

I am available to them, I am always welcoming to their friends of either sex and I would have their backs if there were any significant problems, but I am under no illusion that I'd have any influence on what friends they chose.

BackforGood Sat 12-Sep-20 22:44:21

No, I've never got involved other than making friends welcome here / feeding them / giving lifts occasionally if needed.
Nor do I recognise what you say in your OP in your 2nd paragraph.

Isn't that a large part of being at school, learning to negotiate, and to get along with people that you might not particularly like ?

Mind you, I joined a FB group a few months ago to do with dc going to University - I can't believe the level of "doing things for their dc" that a considerable number of the parents on there do, so clearly I must be at the 'hands off' end of the parenting spectrum rather than the helicoptor end.

TheId Sat 12-Sep-20 23:08:33

Not a chance
My DD would be absolutely mortified if I spoke to another parent about an issue between her and a friend
Plus I have no idea who her friends parents are or any contact details on the whole
I listen to her if she wants to talk, offer advice on how to manage any friendship issues she has and I pick her up on anything I know of that I consider unkind and encourage and praise her for including people, reaching out, being thoughtful.
I think that's all you can really do at that age
If I had a parent providing that kind of feedback I guess I'd have a word to DD about it but I'd also tell the parent to back off and that they are not doing their DC any favours interfering to that extent

KitchenBandAid Sun 13-Sep-20 06:42:46

If I had a parent providing that kind of feedback I guess I'd have a word to DD about it but I'd also tell the parent to back off and that they are not doing their DC any favours interfering to that extent

I am not an unreasonable person. I did discreetly ask a few parents of my sons friends to ask theirs if DS was being horrible and the feedback was that he wasn't at all. Even so, I did tell DS not to jib this boy any more. I told the parent I had spoken with my DS and told him not to say those things again but also told her to back off and she wasn't doing him any favours and this went down like a lead balloon.

OP’s posts: |
ittakes2 Sun 13-Sep-20 07:35:22

I only coach my daughter through issues she has. To me the golden rule is to never ever approach another parent. If something particularly bad has happened I would contact the school.
It sounds like your daughter doesn’t particularly want to be friends with this girl. Fair enough she should not have to. But if my daughter was repeatedly telling me another ‘friend’ made some of the comments your daughter has made I would encourage my daughter to find friends who want to be with her. It’s an important life skill children need to seek out company that supports them and makes them feel good about being themselves. This other mother is only hindering her daughter and making her life unnecessarily complicated.

Tamalpais Sun 13-Sep-20 21:37:11

I need to be somewhat involved because my Y8 son is autistic. I have always made sure to briefly chat to the parents before he's gone to new friends' houses for the first time. Just to touch bases and let them know I'm only a phone call away.

After that first visit he's on his own and can sort himself! I would never involve myself in petty things. Even if I think "god, what a little so-and-so"! The few times issues have started to get out of hand, I always approached the school and asked them to keep an eye...

It honestly may be that her child has undiagnosed additional needs and she is trying to smooth their path by being controlling and overbearing. This approach probably worked in primary but won't do them any favours as her child ages. I think you may need to tell her to go the official route through the school if she wants to complain about your child's behaviour.

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