Town Talk Features

The Honest Truth: Parental Controls

My teenage daughter came home from school and told me about a friend who was mean to her. I’m friends with the girl’s mom, and I’m wondering if I should talk to her about the situation.

Jill: When my girls were younger, I got so riled up when their feelings were hurt. Mama bear was ready to pounce. I mentioned this tendency to a friend of mine who is a therapist, and she said it’s pretty common for our kids’ friend drama to get entangled with some of our own unhealed adolescent wounds.

So, even though these situations can be really hard, don’t let old hurts cause you to be childish or unkind. Also, I’d ask your daughter if she’s OK with you involving the other mom in the discussion. Sometimes our kids just need us to listen and aren’t interested in adult interference.

If you’ve done your own work and discussed it with your daughter first, it could be meaningful to have a potentially messy conversation with your friend. Be open to a different interpretation of events. Drama between teenage girls often doesn’t involve purely fact-based reporting. Handled well, this could lead to a positive parenting conversation. You won’t know until you try.

Beth: If you are trying to convince the other mother that her daughter is in the wrong, there is an outside chance you’ll succeed but a better chance of damaging the friendship. If you’re hooked, vent elsewhere, like with a trusted friend who isn’t involved and preferably lives in another time zone. Most importantly, your main focus should be your daughter. It could be a great learning moment for her. Unfortunately, a lot of people aren’t nice, and it’s useful to learn how to contend with that reality.

I agreed to host a party for new players on my son’s varsity soccer team. Right before the party, parents of a senior asked what they should bring. I confirmed with the coaches it’s only for new players and their families. These parents can be very domineering and manipulative. Should I just let them come to avoid drama?

Jill: In a similar situation, I could see spinning all kinds of stories in my head to try and figure out the other parents’ dastardly motivations. I’ve learned that is never very helpful. Instead, I would reply very simply: “I confirmed with the coaches this party is for new team members and their families, so older players and their parents are off the hook for this one. See you at the first game.”

Beth: I’m with Jill on this one. Keep it simple.

Jill Farmer is an master certified life coach, author and time management aficionado. Beth Chesterton is a master certified executive coach and an expert in organizational development. If you have a question that needs an honest answer, email advice@townandstyle.com

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