If you are a parent, then you know the feeling of desperation of spending hours upon hours trying to help your child maneuver through the friendship battlefield. We listen and we advise. We role play and practice dialogue.
But sometimes, it seems like there is just no solution other than getting personally involved.
So when should you call a parent about their kid’s behavior?
Not the answer you were hoping? Yeah, me too. But I can tell you from personal experience that calling a parent is never a good idea. In fact, I have made it my parenting life’s mission to never call another parent about their child. And the time(s) that I have, it proved to be a disaster. That also means, please don’t call me either, especially about ridiculous things that need to be resolved at school or on their own. Some of my all time favorite phone calls that I have received, include:
- Your daughter wouldn’t let my daughter use the swing she wanted to use on the playground.
- My daughter is upset watching your daughter practice gymnastics at recess because she is jealous we won’t let her do gymnastics too.
- My child is frustrated your child won’t pick somewhere else to sit at lunch because that is the seat my child has always sat in the cafeteria.
- Your daughter is spending too much time with my daughter’s friends. They were our friends first.
“Oh! But my reasons for calling are justified. This is different, ” you say to yourself.
“I’m friends with the parents, so that’s okay,” you might also be thinking.
The minute you go to the other parent, your relationship forever changes, with them and with your child. Your “friend” now has to pick sides between you and their child. I can guarantee that you’ll lose, which means, your child loses. It becomes a dance of “he said, she said” while you and the other parent fumble through emotions and pride. And your child? For starters, they have to endure the embarrassment of everybody knowing their parent is the parent that calls other parents. (Say that ten times fast!) Plus, even if the kids resolve their differences, (which they will), do you really think the other parent will ever feel comfortable again letting their child stay at your house after you have questioned their child’s integrity? Or worse yet, questioned their parenting?
My advice? Keep communicating, role-playing, practicing dialogue and encouraging your child to speak with their classmate directly. Just be sure it isn’t in the middle of a crowded school hallway with lots of gawking spectators. Face to face is always the best, but not very comfortable, so using a good old-fashioned phone call might do the trick. And if that doesn’t work or continues to get too heated, have the school counselor get involved, and they can decide if a parent phone call is warranted. But at least that way, there is a non-biased, non-emotional, third-party facilitating the conversation.
Otherwise, do nothing but be a good listener, never assume and never judge because you only have “half the story” and by next month, they will probably be best buds again.