Sunday, May 5, 2013

10 Ways To Still Be Friends When Your Friend Parents Differently Than You Do & MYHSM Linky Party



Making your home sing Mondays


Welcome to the Making Your Home Sing Monday linky party! Every day you are doing something to make your house into a home for yourself and your family (if you have one). 

My point with each Monday post is, what are YOU doing or going to do today to make your home sing? It can be an attitude or an action. So have fun, do some blog hopping and if you want, link up!


Topics can include marriage, parenting, encouraging women, organization, cleaning, saving money, our behavior and attitudes, homemaking, homeschooling, recipes....the opportunities are endless.
 

So guess what, now you're a parent and love hanging out with your friends and their children for play dates.  Suddenly something happens and you notice your friend screaming at her children.

You are shocked.  You rarely even raise your voice with your kids, let alone scream at them.  You can't believe she is doing that.

Perhaps one day you are shopping with another friend and her children at the mall and your child keeps reaching for something so you say no, and when she reaches again you give your child a gentle but slightly firm slap on her hand.

Your friend is stunned and stares at you, open mouthed and eyes frowning with disapproval.  She can hardly believe you did that.

Welcome to the world of friends who parent differently than you do.  Pull up a chair, it's going to be quite a ride!  Can you continue to maintain a friendship with someone who is your best friend but is so directly opposite you in parenting?

Few things can strike at a parent more than when someone questions their parenting skills.  In their mind, it's tantamount to questioning their love for their children.  You just don't do it.

And yet, friends don't let their friends parent their children "wrong," do they?  Do they?


I have had friends who parent differently than I do.  Sure, we held a lot of the same values but we went about some of them differently.  We also had different viewpoints on things.

I was normally not a yeller or screamer at my kids, although I did raise my voice on more than one occasion!   ;)  But yelling and screaming just really wasn't my thing.   But I have known people who have said that they were screamers and yelled at their kids.

I have had friends who were really disciplined and more routine in their parenting, and had friends who were more laid-back and mellow.

A friend of ours let her son pierce his ears at 14.  We didn't allow our son to pierce his ears until he was 18.  We allowed another son to dye his hair blond at 15, whereas another friend wouldn't let her son dye his hair at all. We allowed our teenage son to grow his hair longer, another was unhappy because her son wanted to cut his hair shorter.

We expected our children to be respectful of our home and its furnishings, and no running in the house or up or down the stairs, or you might get hurt.  This was hard for my relaxed friend who didn't want to stifle her children with a bunch of rules and didn't believe in a lot of discipline.  Nothing they did fazed her.

I did not allow my children to get away with hitting one another but someone I knew once told me it was just part of how siblings should grow up, and that it was to be expected and that there really wasn't anything you could do about it.  I didn't agree.

You can drive one another nuts with your parenting styles.  But sometimes, as hard as it is, you just have to keep your mouth shut.  Some things just don't matter,  If a child is not being abused and is in no danger, than sometimes you just gotta let it go.

It's hard because you may see a dear friend heading down the same path that YOU did, and you want her to avoid making the same mistakes that you did.

Well, will it kill her to learn them for herself?  Didn't YOU learn it that way?  Yes, it's the hard way but some of us are stubborn!


Here are some suggestions when you are struggling with how your friend is parenting her children:

1.  Try to keep your friendship separate from your parenting.  Remember what you like about each other.  Remember that she has the God-given right to bottle feed that child if she wants, and you have the same right not to.  Remember that she has the right to homeschool her kids (or stick them in public school) and you have the right to do the opposite.

2. Just because something worked for you doesn't mean it will work for her.  People are different, children are different.  What worked for your child may not work for hers.  Maybe she's tried it already!

3.  Be there with a listening ear when she needs to vent without the "I told you so."  So you warned her two years ago that she was making a mistake letting the baby sleep in her bed.  Now she's exhausted and fighting a screaming toddler who doesn't want to sleep in his own bed.  Don't grin with glee and say "Hahaha, I warned you!"  Be sympathetic and if she asks, tell her what worked for you instead of "I told you so!"

Just sympathize and encourage her, reminding her that her toddler will eventually sleep in his own bed before he's sixteen.

4. Remember that you CAN learn something from each other.  Just because you parent differently doesn't mean that you can't learn some good things from one another.  Maybe you're too strict and could loosen up a bit and have some fun.  Maybe she's too lax and could do with a boundary or two.

5.  Agree to disagree.  You don't have to sit there and violently defend to the death (of your friendship) your beliefs as to which diaper is the most absorbent diaper and at what age you should start them on solids.  It's o.k. to have different opinions. 

6.  Ask yourself what's more important: your friendship or her children going to bed by 8:00 p.m.  You've been friends for years - do you really want to end it over an 8 p.m. bedtime?   So what if her kids go to bed at 8:30 or 9:00? 

7.  Choose your "battle" and your timing.  There may BE a time when you feel God impressing something upon your heart to share with your friend.  Perhaps she is running herself herself ragged and you really want to encourage her to stay home more.

Then you share out of love and out of the things that God is showing YOU.  But you accept that your way is not the only way or even necessarily the BEST way, and so you don't get bossy and all attitude about it whenever you DO find something that you want to encourage her about.  You make it a love fueled prayed over suggestion, not a demand.

8.  Understand the difference between "encourage" and "bossy" and where that line is, and  simply love and pray for one another.  After all, isn't it nice to know you can pray for one another?

9.  Don't try to "change" her.  This is a mistake that we sometimes make with friends and family. We try to change them.  For one thing, what's right for you may not be right for her.  Just because God's telling YOU something doesn't mean he's telling her the same thing.  For another thing, if you think she needs to change, can't you trust God to make that decision and change her heart if necessary?

10.  Know when to be quiet and when to say "It's none of my business." Sometimes you just need to be quiet, period.  You don't need to win every diaper argument or bedtime "battle" and neither do I.  We don't have to give our opinion on everything. 


You aren't going to see eye to eye on everything about parenting.  Maybe you like cloth and she likes disposables.  Maybe you homeschool and she doesn't.  Maybe you're focusing on character training right now and she's focusing on chore training. That's o.k.  God made us all unique, you know!  ;)

Just appreciate the friendship you have and realize that you can both learn things from each other, and make your home sing today!

What are you doing or going to do today to make your home sing? Please go here for instructions and/or ideas and come back here to link up to join us today! Please do not put your own "Making Your Home Sing Monday" Linky on your blog. As always, please don't forget to link to this post so that others can join the fun!

If you don't want to miss any blog posts, you can follow me or subscribe in your reader or by email.  You   can also find me here on  facebook as well!  I'd love to connect with you! 

I am linking up to these linky parties:


The Life Of FaithTheBetterMom.comWhat Joy Is MinePhotobucketHappy Wives ClubExceptionalisticCovered in GraceRaising Imperfection i should be mopping the floorWise-Woman-Builds Missional Women
All Things with Purposekatherines corner
http://christianmommyblogger.comPhotobucketButton pic 9
HappyandBlessedHome.comCourtship Connection

Also We Are That Family 

28 comments:

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    1. Thank YOU for linking up today, Connie! :)

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  2. This post makes me laugh because of all the differences in parenting styles between me and my friends and I am probably the most passionate of all of us when it comes to parenting so...year this post made me laugh. It was a very very needed article to have been written.

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    1. I'm glad it made you laugh! Yes, I am quite passionate too and so are some of my friends. Many times that passion leads us in separate directions (such as hospital birth vs. home birth), lol!

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  3. Thank you for your sweet comments and prayers. Went to the ER again today...still unstable. Will link back when I am better. Love, Lori

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    1. I left a comment for you on your blog, Lori! I am praying for you, my friend!

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  4. This was absolutely rful advice Nan. Thanks for hosting.

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    1. Thank you for linking up, Judy! I know you've got your hands full with those precious twins!

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  5. This is great! I am just stumbling into this as my kids are little, but my sister and I were just discussing it not too long ago. Thanks for the tips!

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    1. It's great when you can discuss your differences and be aware of them but not fight over them. So many times you can actually learn things from one another! I learned a lot of GOOD stuff from my friends, even though I still disagreed with some of the other stuff (and they disagreed with me too), lol!

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  6. I so resonate with this post, Nan. I have encountered this sticky situation on more than one occasion with more than one friend throughout my mommyhood. I love your suggestions too. They are wise and practical. Thanks for sharing this with all of us and thanks for encouraging me to join your linkup! I'll be back!

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    1. I think it's something that many of us just don't expect. I know that I was surprised to see the differences come out in parenting!

      Thanks so much for linking up with us today!

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  7. Wonderful advice, Nan! Sharing to FB, and thanks, as always, for the link-up.

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    1. Thank you for sharing it on facebook, my friend! And thanks for linking up, can't wait to read what you posted! ;)

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  8. I love, love, LOVE this post. I have a good friend who is vastly different in her parenting style than I am. We're still friends. We also know that the rules are different at each other's houses, and we tell our children that when we visit with each other they are to obey the other house's rules.

    On the other hand, I have another friend with NO children that likes to try to "help me" by getting on to my kids - sometimes for things that I actually allow them to do! How do I deal with THAT one??

    Linking up - a little late to the party today!

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    1. I've had that happen before too. I just explained that I didn't have a problem with it and allowed my kids to do it.

      But if she was always after my kids, I had to ask her to come to me if there was a problem and let ME handle it. They do think they're helping but it's very confusing to the kids and it's also frustrating for mom! ;)

      Glad you linked up today, can't wait to read it!

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  9. I learned so much from a dear friend who was several years ahead in her parenting. To her credit, she taught me by example, and would only share her thoughts when I specifically asked. And I asked a lot, because I never felt condemned or looked down upon. And yes, we disagreed on some points, but we left room for the Holy Spirit to lead each of us in the way he wanted us to go. We've been friends now for 22 years, and I think we're both still teaching each other things -- only now we're muddling through sons and daughters in laws and coming grandchildren! Wow!

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    1. You can learn a lot from friends who parent differently than you do. Even though my one friend screamed at her kids (which I didn't like as I said), she had some really great ideas and qualities and I learned a lot from her.

      I also learned a lot from my relaxed "I never know where my kids are" friend, too. And I like to think that they learned something from me too!

      It's always nice to have friends who are ahead of you in parenting, etc., as you said. I am about to be a mother in law and I have friends who are already there paving the way! ;)

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  10. I've had several friends who parents totally opposite of me. We learned we needed the friendship more than being "right." Great advice, Oh Wise One. If I tell you enough to write a book, wouldja'?

    mommamindy.wordpress.com

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    1. Only if you'll help me, lol! Seriously, I wouldn't even know where to start or how to go about it. Although it sounds like it would be fun (in a terrifying sort of way).

      Amen to the needing the friendship more than being right!

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  11. This is such great advice! I was just reading a book by Richard Carlson that said something similar because we all have such different thought systems based on things we've learned through our upbringing, culture, and overall life - and no two are ever going to be alike. That includes in how we all parent.

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    1. I will have to look him up, never heard of him.

      Our upbringings, culture, values etc. totally determine how we raise our children. Sometimes we purposely try to be the OPPOSITE of our upbringing too.

      I know that I had a dad with a bad temper, although I know he loved us, and I made sure that I married a man who knew how to control his temper! ;)

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  12. Great tips. I've had many of these situations arise over the years.
    One question though, when do you think it might be wise to end a friendship? When we're with friends and my kids see downright sassy/disrespectful behavior from a child and their parent doesn't seem to care, that frustrates my kids and I'm worried it could influence them to try it as well? Then they quiz me all the way home about went on, I hate trying to answers those questions wisely every time. I don't want to make them think I know everything and am always right. I don't like to always answer that "all families do things different" but... do you think there is a time when there's just too many differences and it's better to just fade away despite the fact that you still like your friend for your adult friendship?
    Is this is an awful question?? =/ sorry.

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    1. No it's not an awful question! I'm sure most of us have been through it. I know I have.

      It's getting late and so I will pop you an email tomorrow and tell you the way that I have handled it in the past, just to give you an idea of what I did and some of the situations we dealt with.

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  13. Excellent tips! We've had parenting differences not with friends (seem to be able to get along with them despite the fact that we all parent differently) but with my husband's siblings. His sister parents nearly opposite to us and we've sort of agreed not to talk about certain things. His brother also parents very differently than us and it caused a huge rift between us that is now, maybe, getting settled (again, as long as we don't talk about certain things). It's hard.

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    1. It is hard and I agree that sometimes you just have to agree not to talk about it. It's hard when you are a stickler on manners and being respectful to adults and you have a friend who isn't and so their kids are allowed to be (in your mind) disrespectful)!

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  14. Oh, this is so good! All of it!! And it's so true. It's amazing how high tensions can run over parenting issues. I am blessed to be surrounded by people who love and accept how we parent even though they may disagree. But I have some friends who have broken relationships over it! You offered excellent tips! Thanks so much! Always a pleasure to have you link up!

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    1. Thank you, my friend! I, too, have known of friendships that have suffered over it. You just have to accept one another's differences and agree to disagree!

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