Dear Mouthy Housewives,
My 10 year daughter is best friends with a girl whose mother’s parenting style is very different from mine. She allows her daughter to watch PG-13 movies and to wear clothing that I consider inappropriate. Last summer my daughter asked for a bikini like the one her friend wears instead of a one-piece that I bought for her. I explained that different families have different rules, but I wonder if I should speak to the mom. We are on friendly terms, and I wonder if sharing my concerns with her would make her rethink some of her choices.
Dear NoBikini Mom,
Before I get to the larger issue, I want cross the easy part of this off my list.
One piece bathing suits (scientific name maillot) can be uncomfortable. What they offer in modesty they make up in sheer wetness all over the stomach area once you’re out of the pool. That does not mean that your daughter needs to wear a thong bikini, but you should know that there are a lot of age-appropriate options out there.
Now onto the bigger issue. You know that your parenting style is different from the other mom’s. Your daughters are best friends despite (or maybe because?) of these differences. You took the important step of telling your daughter honestly that each family’s rules are different and now you are wondering if you should share your views with the other mom. And here’s my answer. Yes. And also, no.
Yes, because you are friendly and people who are on friendly terms and whose children are best friends should discuss issues that concern their children. Sharing ideas is important and can be eye-opening for each of you.
No, because you seem to want to win her over to your way of thinking. If your goal in having this discussion with her is to have her fall to her knees and start repenting for parenting her kid in way that is inconsistent with your philosophy, I suggest you refrain. (Or if you choose to proceed, give Bravo’s Real Housewives franchise a heads up. They need 24 hours to get the camera crews ready.) Because the judgey talk of “my way is better than your way” has never improved a relationship.
Chances are the other mom already knows how you feel about the various issues, and perhaps she is taking the Agree to Disagree route on this one.
And when it comes to parenting our kids, there is nothing wrong with that.
Best of luck,