One of the more difficult aspects of having school-age children is making friends with other parents. If you are the right age, with the right job and the right haircut, perhaps it is fairly easy, but if you live by the beat of your own drum, it can be difficult to mesh with other ‘more traditional’ and occasionally passive-aggressive parents.
There is nothing like bonding with other parents or watching as your children make friends and attend play dates. The test is what happens when your children’s relationships go sideways. For example, how do parents react when one child gets into a fight with another? What if you have a different parenting style?
As a mom, I’ve noticed that instead of confronting parents directly, they opt to avoid speaking with one another and try to avoid the awkwardness of confrontation. This ultimately leads to a lot of confusion and frustration.
I don’t think that mothers are aggressively protective over their children, and therefore will be prone to violent behaviour if another parent brings an issue to their attention. And yet, what I am seeing first-hand is parents shying away from confrontation all together and opting for a more passive-aggressive approach. Have you ever tried to plan a playdate and the other parent is suddenly ‘too busy’? Or the other child is sick all the time out of the blue? Don’t kid yourself, you and your child are being ditched. It appears we haven’t left high school after all.
As mature adults, it is no longer heart-breaking to learn someone doesn’t want to be your friend. Over the years, we all learn to accept that some people like us and some don’t. The issue with the passive-aggressive approach in dealing with other parents is what it is teaching our kids. In school, children are traditionally taught to confront their issues and solve problems in a fair and respectful manner. When parents don’t treat each other the same way, this causes confusion for children and can even extend to bullying on the playground between the two children whose parents don’t get along.
Canadians are known for being polite almost to a fault. We simply don’t thrive off unnecessary confrontation and will go lengths to avoid it. There are certain times though, when a discussion is absolutely necessary and avoiding confrontation is more disrespectful than dealing with a problem. When it comes to our kids, we need to speak up in a courteous and controlled way and teach kids to manage their issues instead of avoiding them.
Another potential factor for avoiding issues between parents could be the pressure of trying to be a part of a community in a large city. It is difficult to connect with others when living in a large metropolis and thriving in a school community becomes a lifeline for many parents. That’s where they find family friends. Perhaps there is a ‘cool’ factor to not being confrontational, but the reality is avoiding issues altogether will have more long-term damaging effects on kids and parents in tight-knit urban communities.
It is time to SPEAK UP PARENTS! By breaking through the false glass ceiling of fake compliments and passive-aggressive avoidance, perhaps issues will actually be solved and children will really learn how to treat one another. Being polite only goes so far, and telling the truth is almost always better than the alternative. As parents, we need to practice what we preach and treat each other as kids are expected to be with each other.
It is time to be truthful and ditch being ditched. As a mom I’m ready for this change, are you?