10 Dec
Keeping the Peace

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

My 9-year-old daughter informed me this weekend that she and the boy next door mutually declared the end of their friendship. They had a spat a few weeks back, and I thought it had blown over, but it apparently has not. This breaks my heart because these two have been best buddies since they were 18 months old.

The problem is our families are very close and go on trips together. Plus we carpool with this family, and my daughter and the boy sit at the same table at school. They have had arguments in the past, but they’ve always gotten past them. This one, however, seems to be different. Do I just let them sort it out together, or should the other mom and I try to broker a truce? I’m stumped.

Signed,

Caught in the Middle

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Dear Caught in the Middle,

Ah, yes, the fine balance of motherhood. We want to be good mothers, involved in our child’s life, yet have a media-embedded fear of being labeled a helicopter parent. What to do?

I see nothing wrong with teaching our children peacemaking skills. In fact, judging from the two wars we’re fighting, and simply society at large, I’d say it’s a skill we should spending more time on teaching. Just think, if we valued and taught this more, Elin Nordegren wouldn’t need a golf club to settle Tiger’s “transgressions.” (And who wants to anger a Viking anyway?)

On the other hand, I’m pretty sure age 9 is when the war of the sexes begins, so it’s possible my above advice is pointless. I see the gender division when I have lunch with my 9-year-old son at school. I guess it’s inevitable. The boys and the girls voluntarily segregate themselves into separate tables. Except for my son, who sits at the middle table. With his best friend who is a girl. We’re thinking of changing his name to Ghandi.

Since your two families are closely tied, I personally would err on the side of ‘copter parenting and try to help resolve the rift. Learning when and how to resolve conflict with people we’re close to is a life-long skill. Just be sure to remember The Mouthy Housewives in any future peace prize acceptance speeches.

Signed,

Heather, TMH

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6 Responses to “Keeping the Peace”

12.10.09#1

Comment by Wendi.

I agree that you should step in since they’re good family friends and ask a few questions.

And “Never Piss Off a Viking” is a good way to go through life.

12.10.09#2

Comment by hokgardner.

I’ve since talked to the other mom, and we’ve agreed to monitor the situation for the time being.

But I also had a talk with my daughter about how even if you don’t like someone, you still have to be polite and respectful to him. I reassured her that we wouldn’t force her to be friends, but we also wouldn’t allow her to do anything that would make the situation worse.

Lisa Reply:

This was exactly what I was going to suggest. Really, it’s up to them if they are going to be friends. Your only say in the matter is that you want to continue to enjoy your friendship with this family and that means she can’t ruin outings with bad behavior. Learning to peacefully coexist is such a WONDERFUL thing to learn. Think of all the classmates, all the co-workers, all the in-laws we have to learn to put up with.

12.10.09#3

Comment by GrandeMocha.

Tell your daughter, “You don’t have to be best friends, just be polite.” If she gets really good at it, she could have a future at the UN. If not, it’s good practice for her future inlaws, neighbors, and coworkers.

12.10.09#4

Comment by Karin.

wow – comparing childhood friends growing to the current war in teaching peacekeeping skills… just wow – despite the fact that generally speaking throughout history, there has been a war nearly every other generation…

08.29.11#5

Comment by Pardon My Propeller | The Mouthy Housewives.

[…] to my world.   I’ve been called a helicopter mom, too, but unlike you, I embrace it.   Of course I like to think of myself as one of those sleek […]

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