Just because your children get along doesn’t mean that you’re automatically going to get along with the parents. Jodyne L. Speyer, author of Dump ‘Em: How to Break Up with Anyone from your Best Friend to Your Hairdresser, offers these eight steps to “cutting the cord” – without severing your kid’s friendship.
1. We gotta talk. Give your kid’s friend’s parent the heads-up; you’d like to talk to her alone when she has time.
2. Schedule it. Set a time and place – outside the hearing of your children.
3. Keep it simple. Dump her without going into great detail. Be as honest as you feel comfortable being – depending on the situation. Keep it short and sweet, but to the point, placing as much blame on yourself:
“There’s no easy way to say this, but my schedule is so full right now that unfortunately, I don’t have time to hang out. I’m sorry if that sounds blunt or hurts your feelings. I just wanted to be clear with you, so that there won’t be any misunderstandings and I won’t disappoint you when I can’t spend time at your house or mine to chat.”
4. Open yet firm. Allow her to respond, but try not to take care of her feelings. If she feels hurt, that’s OK. Show compassion, but don’t backpedal or allow her a way back into your life. One of her problems is not respecting your boundary, so if you allow her to break it now, it sends the message that you’re not serious.
5. About the kids. Apologize and make it clear that you don’t want this to affect the children. You love her child and hope that Junior will continue to play with your child.
6. Get out. The longer you stay, the easier it is for the parent to suck you back in again.
7. Maintain your boundary. From this day forward, if you see the parent slipping, stay on top of it. Don’t make exceptions, unless it’s an emergency.
8. Curb the accusations. If the parent asks you whether she has done something wrong, think long and hard before telling her the truth. Ask yourself what purpose it will serve. Keep in mind that you still have to see her on a regular basis.
Need more tips on dealing with your kids’ friends’ parents? Tackle another tough conversation about another child’s behavior with these tips.
This post was originally published in 2010 and is updated regularly.