General Etiquette > Family and Children

How do I facilitate my child's friendship when I distrust the friend's parent?

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My daughter, A, is in elementary school. A has become close friends with a little girl, B, who is delightful. We have had her over to play. The problem is that her parent, in our brief exchanges so far, has given me some huge red flags about ever leaving my child in that person's care. A loves B and wants to grow the friendship. I am willing to interact with this parent at destinations we both attend with the kids and willing to have B come over to my house. I think B is a good friend for A and vice versa, and B's family agrees. But how do I allow A to foster a relationship with B without being mean, when I am not comfortable letting A go to B's house?

Also, I am concerned that I may appear to be judging the family based on some traditional prejudice hot-points, when really my concerns are completely about the mental health and stability of the parent. But I can't very well explain my real concerns, how do I avoid looking like a jerk?

These red flags, I'm assuming they are safety concerns? Or are they just general lifestyle choices that you disagree with?

If it's not safety related, I'd just bean dip. If it is safety related, you might have to address it more directly for the sake of your daughter's friend.

If your concerns are the parent, then maybe you can just continue to invite B to your home or events that are in public.  If A is invited to B's home, can you just say that you are over-protective and prefer she play at your home?  Not that I think you're being over-protective, but more making it about you instead of B's parent. 

Continue to invite B over to your house and to outings in public. If B's family invites A over to play, could you perhaps see if you can come along so you can keep half an eye out? If your concerns are founded and the home is not a safe environment (for whatever reason), you can decline further invitations. On the other hand, if it turns out that the home is totally safe (there's another parent/guardian around or the mental health issue isn't the problem you thought it would be), you might be okay with letting A go over there.

I also agree with kitchcat. Depending on what the issues are, it might be worth mentioning them.

Sheila Take a Bow:
I was in a similar situation a couple of years ago (my daughter's friend's mother has a substance abuse issue). I would not let my daughter go to her friend's house but I continued to socialize with the family in public places like the park.

There were some awkward moments when I would decline invitations to their house, but I prioritized my daughter's well-being over both the mother's feelings and the friendship between my daughter and her friend. It was a hard choice because we love the girl, but I had to put my daughter's well-being first.

(In the end, it worked out that my daughter and her friend spent some time apart but are now the best of friends again. But that's another story altogether.)


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