Friendships are a key element in life. As moms, we are eager to connect and develop close friends. This is something we also want for our children. We encourage them to make friends from a young age and teach them how to share, be kind, and be helpful to one another.
It’s such a wonderful feeling to see our children interact and play well with other kids of the same age. It’s even more enjoyable when we’re able to connect with the parents of our children’s friends. This makes hangout times memorable not just for the kids but also for us.
As adults, we understand that not all friendships are meant to last forever. Certain relationships have their season, and we learn how to move on and make new friends. It’s not always easy, but more often than not, it’s for the best.
There will come a time in our child’s life when they will outgrow a friendship too. It’s especially difficult when it happens to be with a best friend, or they have been friends for a longer amount of time. Perhaps we have grown close to this friend’s family, which can add another layer of complexity.
This can be a challenge, but it is important to take the proper steps to address the situation and make it as seamless as possible.
Understanding that outgrowing friendships is a natural part of our child’s development. It’s not always easy, and they need our support. We must have a conversation with them and listen to why they don’t want to be friends with a certain person any longer. We want to encourage our kids to develop discernment for their comfort level and why a friendship is no longer healthy. It’s our responsibility to empower them to make choices and choose friends that will steer our kids in the right direction.
2. Ask Questions
Asking our children questions is necessary to learn where they are coming from and understand if this is a healthy relationship. Here are some conversations starters and questions you can ask that will help you dig a little deeper rather than just getting one-word responses.
- Tell me what you’re feeling.
- What is making you feel this way?
- What makes you feel uncomfortable about this friendship?
Listening to our children when they open up and share. For me personally, I have to fight the urge to interrupt and fix the situation right off the bat. Ultimately, I want my child to learn and grow, so giving her the space to figure it out even if it means she might make a mistake is an important part of the process. This will allow her to establish her own identity.
4. Set Boundaries
Helping our children set boundaries is key. We can do this by not responding readily to have play dates when a parent reaches out. Putting distance in the relationship will help the kids drift apart naturally. Sometimes our children don’t always need to have a reason for declining an invitation, and that is ok. We can guide them through the appropriate language they need to communicate with their friends.
5. Don’t Take It Personally
If you are friends with the child’s mom or family, it’s important not to take it personally. You can still maintain your friendship but may need to schedule a separate time for you to hang out without the kids. Share with your mom friend that you don’t want this to impact your relationship, and you support your child’s decision to choose who she would like to spend time with.