J2 Content – Perspectives

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On Open Letter to the Parent of My Child’s Friend

Hi.

I’m Jennifer’s mom. I think it’s great the way that Jennifer and your daughter, Olivia, get along so well.

We are in a weird situation, you and me, in that our children are friends, but we hardly know each other. I know very little about you and the way you like to run your household, and you know equally little about me and my way of doing things. Sure, we can discern a few things from how the other’s child behaves, but I know my kid does plenty of things I disagree with. I’m sure the same is true about you and yours.

My daughter hopes and expects that we will become friends. I wouldn’t mind that. Since starting a family most of my social interactions are generated from my husband’s work or my children’s activities. Sometimes my daughter gravitates toward a family that I’m not too comfortable with, but I’m hoping that you and I can maybe grab coffee sometime or get our husbands together and all get together. At least as long as our daughters are friends. If their friendship dissolves, then I suppose it would be come awkward.

Speaking of awkward, there are a few things I would never say to you directly, but I really should.

  • Please try not to give my daughter snacks right before a 6 PM pickup from a playdate. Odds are I will be giving her dinner shortly after, and it is both difficult and frustrating to hear that she just ate a bunch of marshmallow treats moments before I arrived.
  • Please let me know if your child has invited my daughter over when other friends will be present. My daughter enjoys your daughter’s company a great deal and is sometimes disappointed when what she expects will be one-on-one playtime isn’t. Especially if the other guests are people who she doesn’t care for.
  • I respect the rules and freedoms you have in your household, please respect mine. For example, my daughter is NOT on Facebook. I understand that yours has been for years, and you think it is the greatest thing. I am very familiar with how it all works, but our family will make a decision about if and when to make that move on our own. Similarly, please give me the opportunity to say “it’s all right” or “we’d rather she didn’t” when you would like to push the envelope with the kids. It’s great that you have Netflix and access to that funny R-rated comedy that was out last summer. I would like the opportunity to say whether she is allowed to watch the movie, not find out afterward that the decision was made for me.
  • I genuinely do appreciate the times you take her to the movies, skating, bowling, and such and you pay for her ticket. I will try to always send her with $20 for admission and or snacks. It is very nice of you to take care of her expenses, and I hope you know we will do the same if we bring your daughter somewhere. I do ask, however, that you discourage her from taking the money that was to go to admission and using it for video games and gift shop junk. That was not the reason I gave her the money, and while it is my responsibility to advise her of that – I would appreciate your support. I also have a line at which I’m not as comfortable with you paying for ticket. A $7 movie is one thing; a $50 ticket to an amusement park is another. I appreciate your generosity but please do not put me in a difficult position if I politely say “no, thank you”.
  • Finally, please be prompt with picking up or dropping off your child. If there is a problem, please give a call so that we may adjust our schedules. Our children get along wonderfully, and I do enjoy Olivia as a guest, but we often have other things in our schedule and need a 6:00 pickup to be exactly that.

That came across a bit negatively, and I apologize for that. I do enjoy Olivia and am happy she and Jennifer are friends. I do hope we can become friends independently of our children. I have been through some rough situations with parents of my children’s other friends, and I just felt it might be best to clear the air – albeit passive aggressively.

Yours,

Parent X

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