Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Ask Amy | Her parenting style offends another mother

Dear Amy: My daughter and another girl are good school friends. However, the child's mother disagrees with the way I parent.

Dear Amy:

My daughter and another girl are good school friends. However, the child's mother disagrees with the way I parent.

Our girls are approaching teenhood, and I have always been very open with my daughter about what is going on with her body (my parents never were).

While the two girls were at my house having lunch, they got into a discussion about getting their menstrual periods. My daughter told her that I gave her a sanitary pad to carry in her purse "just in case." The friend reported back to her mother, and the mother called me, outraged about the conversation and the "ideas" I was putting into her daughter's head.

I explained that I was not a part of the conversation, but the mother replied that she didn't want her child coming over to our house anymore because she didn't want the child to end up like me. This is not the first time she has disagreed with my parenting.

I was a teenage mother, and there is generally a 10- to 15-year age difference between myself and other parents at my daughter's school. I believe in giving my daughter knowledge and not sheltering her. I don't give knowledge to other children. It upsets me that my daughter is possibly losing friends because of me. At the same time, I know I have raised a good child and am very proud of my life.

How can I make this woman understand that while we have different parenting styles, I am not trying to parent her child?

- Young Mom

Dear Mom: Your job as a parent is to influence your child and teach her the values you consider important. This other mother is trying to make sure that her own daughter understands and lives by their own family's values. However, she shouldn't do this by insulting you and isolating her daughter from your family.

You should speak to your daughter about this. Explain how you feel about being open and honest about matters concerning her body, growth and health. Tell her that this openness made her friend's mother uncomfortable. Ask your daughter if she wishes that things were different in your home, and then listen to what she says.

You could try to explain to this other mother that you are not trying to influence or parent her daughter, but ultimately it will be this mother's choice whether to permit her daughter to be exposed to people who think differently than she does. A child's exposure to other views can strengthen a family's values rather than dilute them.