Monday, March 31, 2014

Second Generation Friendship Will Take Time To Develop

Dear Tazi:

There is a woman I know ho I have been friends with since childhood. We both have young children (under the age of 2 and still in diapers) and "Rowena" constantly talks about the future they will have together. She will say things like "when the children become Brownies and then Girl Scouts together" or "when the girls take swim lessons together at the YMCA".

Tazi, right now our girls socialize together because they have no choice but to accept each others company. They get along well, but they are still babies! Neither child has reached an age where she is asserting her independence or preferences for certain friends. I would love for my daughter and my best friend's daughter to grow up as close best friends, but I am not going to force this on her. Neither will I push her to join Girl Scouts or to take swimming lessons at the Y. I will encourage her to try new and different things and of course allow her to join Scouts if she truly wants to, but I believe in letting a child develop at their own natural pace. When I was a kid I was forced to play a sport I hated and I swore I would never do this to my own child.

I have tried to politely tell Rowena that time will tell what kind of activities our girls will enjoy, but she just pouts and tells me that I am "sucking all thE fun out of motherhood", which raises other concerns in my mind. Can you think of a way to let Rowena know that I am not interested in planning my daughter's social calendar for five years down the road? And how should I respond to her accusation that I am "sucking the fun out of motherhood"?   If controlling her child's every step is what Rowena considers "fun", I fear for the future of her daughter - and my own.

Enjoying Motherhood...One Day At A Time

Dear Enjoying Motherhood...One Day At ATime:

It appears to me that you and Rowena have very different parenting styles. Please do not allow this to affect your lifelong friendship. People change throughout their lives, and parenthood is one more change your friendship can weather. It is quite obvious that your relationship with Rowena means a great deal to her, and that she would like for it to continue through the second generation (and maybe even beyond). You need to ask why this is so important to Rowena.

Rowena sounds like she is lonely, and having a difficult time adjusting to motherhood. Her only fun in raising her daughter is to plan her future down to the last detail? Why is she unable to enjoy her daughter in the here and now? Could Rowena be suffering from depression, postpartum or otherwise? Considering the length of your friendship, this should not be an uncomfortable topic to broach with Rowena; the next time she starts talking about the future, suggest that you both concentrate on enjoying the here and now, and gently probe to see if there are reasons Rowena is having trouble doing that. Reassure Rowena that her friendship is very important to you, and that you cannot imagine a time that you will not be there for each other.

If Rowena keeps insisting on making far-flung future plans, just smile and remind her that you look forward to what the future brings, but prefer to enjoy living in the present, and that before signing your daughter up for any activities you would like the child's personal input on the matter - which she will be unable to give until she starts talking; then, turn the conversation back to whatever it is the children are enjoying at present.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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