Friday, March 21, 2014

Missing manual - please help

To be fair, I haven't googled this yet so the manual may exist, but I'm going to whine and moan like it doesn't.

Where is the manual for kids friendship? It's soooooooooooooo awkward!

My boys have a handful of friends that they've had since they were babies. My husband and I know the families, have been to their houses, we have mutual trust and understanding between our families, we know each other's parenting styles and we know all the kids allergies and concerns. Amazing right? 

Except our kids are all getting older and we now all go to different churches and schools and play different sports and it's harder and harder to get together. The result is kids making new friends that could be drug addicts.

Okay, it's not really the kids I'm worried about so much, it's those darn parents. Do I have to be friends with them so our kids can be friends? Is there a questionnaire that we could give prospective friends parents before our kids get invested in the friendship? I'd like to know where they work, if they go to church, if they swear, if they smoke, how much carpet they have, their views on mcdonalds, other adults that are allowed in the home, if they have a gun cabinet, if they have a liquor cabinet, how many toys their kids have, if they drink bottled water. You know the important stuff that tells you if your child will be safe in that environment. 

Turns out when you just start a conversation with these questions it can be a little off putting. 

There's FBI background checks, stalking, and gossipy nosiness to try and find out facts covertly but really, what is a parent to do? My decision thus far has been to quiz the parents on everything I can think of until they give me a weird look, say a lot of prayers, lecture my kids on stranger danger, good touch/bad touch, secrecy, drugs, alcohol, weapons and saying please and thank you in the car on the way to play dates and sometimes sending long emails explaining my own personal views on snacking, video games and wrestling. 

So far so good, but the tide could turn at any moment! It's a scary world out there and every time I think I've got a handle on things the police accuse me of child neglect, I get Unfriended on Facebook, my kids learn a dirty word or I realize I don't really like the kid that my kids are begging to play with but I already vetted the parents so now it's awkward to back out of the play date. It all just seems so difficult.

Do my kids really need friends? Maybe I should have just been more encouraging during that whole imaginary friend stage, those seem much easier to deal with. This whole growing up and gaining independence and becoming their own person thing is just ridiculous! Glad I have God as part of our plan or I don't think we'd survive at all.

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