Building a Friendship Bridge

What to do when parenting styles differ

In extreme cases, sticking to our guns may mean walking away from a friendship altogether. "I think you have to abandon a friendship if you find yourself embroiled in an ongoing conflict that has escalated into a power issue in which you're both determined to prove the other wrong," says Douglas. She gives the example of a stay-at-home mom who's determined to make a working mother feel guilty, or a working mother who doesn't acknowledge the value and challenges of being a stay-at-home-parent.

Even if that lack of support is one-sided, and one person continues to work to maintain the relationship, it may be time to say good-bye. When someone undermines your parenting decisions, it's most likely a sign of deeper problems in the friendship. Parenting is such an important and personal issue, says Elium, that "if they're not respecting your innermost feelings about something, that's a pretty deep disrespect."

The good news is, it's rare that you'll need to take such drastic measures to protect your choices and your family. We typically choose to surround ourselves with those who value our company and support our choices, even when they differ from their own. "I've never been in a position where I lost a friendship over differing parenting styles," says Jerri Ledford, mother of two. "I believe everyone is entitled to their own decisions."


Lain Chroust Ehmann has written over 100 stories for publications such as Woman's World, Writer's Digest, the San Jose Mercury News, and more. She and her family split their time between Boston, Massachusetts, and Los Gatos, California.

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