Best Friend Bad Example for Her Child, Others

Updated on September 12, 2010
J.D. asks from Westminster, MD
20 answers

My best friend growing up is a bad influence for her child and others in my opinion, and I don't know how to deal with it.
Her daughter is 12, as is mine. They are best friends as well. We live in different states, and over the summer my daughter went to stay with them for 3 weeks. Here is just a few examples of stuff that occured that I disagree with...
She tells her that all of her friends are jealous of her because she is so beautiful. Every mom thinks their child is beautiful, but most don't tell them that everyone is jealous of their beauty! She talks about her daughters friends in a very bad way, as in calling one of them fat and disgusting, another one has a "pig nose", and so on. All of this is behind their backs, of course. Either way, it's just wrong. Wrong. WRONG. She also says that after a long day at school she wants her daughter to relax, so she will do her daughers math homework!! Anyway, our 20 year reunion is in 2 weeks, and she wants me to bring my daugher. To be honest, I don't want her to go to their house anymore at all until something changes. I don't know how to tell her this. She is very, very hard to talk to, getting very defensive at any suggestion that what she is saying is just wrong. How do I go about this? I really want to tell her the truth about what I feel is wrong, but is it my place to do so? Probably not. I love her, she was a huge part of my life growing up. I just think that she needs some sort of mental help. ANY advice is appreciated.

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answers from New York on

Go to your reunion, leave your daughter home and tell her that your daughter could not make it because she had another commitment. I doubt that anything you say will make her change, defensive people are hard to talk to and it will probably end in an argument.

Do you enjoy this person's friendship? Friendship is about being with people you feel good about being with. Sometimes, we need to move on and away from the people we were friends with when we were young because they grew up to be people that we do not really like, but for some reason so many people feel an obligation to remain in draining friendship just because of the history. Your friend sounds judgemental and critical and unhappy and yeah probably has some mental illness -- If you don't want that negativity in your life or your daughters then let go of the friendship - it should be easy to go your separate ways seeing that you live in different towns. You don't have to say anything, just distance yourself.

Good Luck

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

first reaction - your daughter is 12, she knows that is no way to be. talk to your daughter, make sure you and she are on the same page. trust in her to be around less than desirable behavior without thinking this is how she can act. then be a good example by being polite and respectful without agreeing with your friend. your daughter is old enough to handle this.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Albany on

You love her, and yet you want to change her? HHmmmm, it's unlikely her poor parenting will rub off on your daughter. I have a number of girlfriends whose parenting style I disagree with, and yes, their kids hang out with my kids. But frankly I think it's more likely a little of us will rub off on them rather then the other way around...Celebrate what you love about your girlfriend, your own daughter can celebrate what she loves about the daughter, tight girlfriendships are worth saving. Plus I would take whatever your daughter 'reports' about their household with a grain of salt. You can't parent her child, she can't parent yours. Frankly your spending time with her, and your daughter spending time with hers, just may be the 'mental help' she needs!!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

It's not your place to straighten your friend out (or to expect that anything you say would actually accomplish that), but you could reasonably try three things:

1. Keep things humorous. If she says/does strange or inappropriate things in your observation, turn it into a self-observation that's just funny. I have a sister who has become masterful at this around my mom, who is crazy-controlling, and my mom, consequently, cuts her some slack. I'm studying my sister's techniques. Possible examples (delivered in a cheerful voice): "What a fun idea, doing your daughter's math homework! Do you get to take her tests, too?" or "Yeah, and isn't it a good thing none of US have any physical characteristics people could criticize? How did we get so lucky?"

2. You could express concern about her happiness (though this can be delicate, and risky with anyone who's prone to defensiveness): "Dear friend, I've been worried about you, because I keep hearing you saying things that make you / your daughter seem superior, and I know that kind of thinking often comes from insecurity. Are you doing all right? Would you like to talk about anything?"

3. Most importantly, use these events as teachable moments with your daughter. One of the best techniques ever is to ask her what she already knows about what would be right in some situation. What does she think about people who talk behind others' backs, for example? You will probably be amazed at how much she already understands, and she will feel proud that you asked.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Modesto on

I understand your frustration but is this really worth ruining a friendship over? If it is not affecting your daughter then who cares? It sounds like you and your daughter have good communication skills as she has told you what goes on when she visits. As long as your daughter knows that the common sense you are teaching her is a little bit better than the common sense your friend is teaching her daughter I wouldnt worry about it. Your daughter will always know that what she was taught at home is the "right" thing. Just keep open communication with your daughter and don't be a two faced gossip like your friend and it will all be fine. I doubt you can change your friend, she is what she is. You can only change how you react to her wierdness..... and just love her the way she is. We are all flawed in some way but we all have at least one friend that accepts us the way we are, right?

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I actually thought that the bad influence would be drugs , drinking, sex. I think my daughter is the most beautiful girl and some of her friends have been jealous of her beauty. I have also told her so. So your best friend is a gossip qween about her daughters friends. I am probably guilty of this myself in the past.

You are your daughters roll model in life. You teach her what is appropriate behavior in life. I think at 12 she can ignore your best friends rants about her daughters friends. Is thier something else that she does wrong that bothers so much. I really think that if you have taught your daughter the values of being a girl this influence will not harm her.

Now on the other hand if your daughter does not want to visit anymore because of this. Then just don't let her go. Good luck momma!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Toledo on

You can't make your friend change her attitude by refusing to be friends. You accept her as you find her, or stay away. Your only obligation is to your daughter, and you have that under control. Remember that people who ridicule others and constantly find fault are deeply unhappy with themselves. This helps you and your daughter understand where her behavior is coming from, and be more sympathic to her and her daughter. It also gives you the opportunity to praise your daughter for seeing how bad it makes the friends look. I say, spend time with them, model your own relationship with your daughter, and show them how happy it makes you to have each other. That's your best strategy.

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answers from Washington DC on

ALL moms do think that their children are beautiful. My opinion is that telling a child that everyone is jealous of them is setting them up for letdowns later in life..she may start thinking that she is better than everyone else, which no one likes. And to call her friends fat and pig nosed? That is childish. Her poor daughter is going to grow up that way, thinking that talking about people in that manner is acceptable.
My opinion? Do not allow your daughter to go back over there. Let her know that if they are talking about other "friends" that way they are certainly talking badly about her as well. Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on's my two cents.
Your daughter already recognizes that her actions are wrong, correct? After all she's the O. who related the homework policy, the friend bashing, and the confidence boosting.
You're doing ok with your daughter and she's not, right?
Amy J. is right when she says the crazies never change. She won't.
She can still be your friend and your daughter can still be friends with her daughter. I would think twice about letting her spend even a week there if you're not. Have her daughter to your house next summer. It will buy you some time and the girls will be O. more year mature then anyway.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

Mom, some people change over the yrs and not always for the better. In my opinion you need to be honest with this friend. This is not someone I would continue to have my daughter around in the future, nor her daughter until there is a big change, but only u can decide if this is a friendship you want to keep. I would call your friend and tell her you plan to go to the reunion but dont plan to take your daughter. If she asks why, tell her you want to talk to her about it privately when you are there. I would take her out to lunch to catch up and then casually mention your concerns in as nice of a way as you can. I think honesty is always best. She likely will not take what you have to say well, but that's ok, she will at least know how you feel and there is a small possibility she will change if she values your friendship. Really I dont know why she can't just be your friend only since you dont see her often and she lives a distance, she doesnt have to be your daughter's and her daughters friend. Do realize your addressing this concern about her behavior and inapproriate comments about her daughters friends may end your friendship once you talk to her, but ask yourself is this someone at this point you really want as a friend? Hope this suggestion helps, good luck with this Mom. It is a tough one.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

It is really hard to tell somebody that you don't approve of the way they are handling their own child, and especially if you already know that she gets defensive, it doesn't seem like this is going to be effective. The only thing you can do is control the way she deals with YOUR child. You already know the best way is to limit their interaction. As far as the reunion goes, just tell her that your daughter has other plans and leave it at that. The less you explain, the less she has to argue with. You probably have already talked to your daughter about how you (and she) don't treat their friends like that and how damaging it is to talk about people behind their backs, and how you (and she) respect their friends more than that. You can love your friend without liking what she is doing. Good luck! You are doing the right thing!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Williamsport on

You know what has been the most frustrating thing to me over ALL THE YEARS knowing some CRAZY people???? This: People don't change. Especially crazy people. They also NEVER think they're in the wrong. Rational people may listen to advice, but your friend sounds like one of the crazies. Your friend is not going to be ethical and kind to people because you tell her she should. She's way too old for a deep character overhaul if she thinks it's OK to criticize the physical appearances of young girls and help her daughter cheat in school-w h a t ? . Even if you overcame your fear and talked to her, and she pretended to listen, and then she tried to behave around your daughter (this would never happen by the way) she STILL is who she is, and you're right, these are bad traits. She may have mental issues. Whatever. Even if she could get some help from your wise words (she won't) is it really a good use of your time? I think you need to phase this relationship into the past and let your daughter's time be spent with better friends.
Phase her out, and if she really really tries to keep you engaged and WANTS to hear your feelings if you tell her you have some issues with her, then talk to her. But don't just approach her as if what you say will matter out of the blue-she'll just put you on the defensive. I wouldn't bring your daughter to the reunion. Start the pull away process.

Also, my best friend lives out of state, and my kids are young, however, in the future, I know my best friend (childless) will be like an aunt to them, another adult to turn to for great advice and experiences, one of the family practically, with many future trips and holidays spent together. She will be a big part of their lives. If she acted like your friend would this be the case? NO WAY. Set an example of the friends you choose! Your daughter may not be negatively influenced or mind that you hang out with mean crazy aunt so and so and the spawn she's raising, but it's not good either.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Wow, that is a tough situation. I think the good news is that you live in different states. Hopefully the distant will give you a convenient excuse to not have your daughter see her very often. You can always make up a reason why your daughter can't come. Typically, most people don't bring children to high school reunions, so you should just tell your friend that you weren't planning on bringing your daughter because she may feel out of place.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on


Is this "friend" someone whose company you enjoy? Do you want to keep her in your life because of what the two you share now? Only you know where she fits in your heart. It is okay to let her go.

If she is someone that you want to keep in your life then by all means be honest with her. Tell her before the reunion that in your rules are different than hers. You don't want your daughter in a situation where gossip and being mean is acceptable. Maybe she'll get angry and you'll lose a friend. But maybe, just maybe she'll open up to you.

If all of this is too much drama, then tell her your daughter has a previous engagement and can't make it. But you need to be honest with your daughter.

Good luck.



answers from Washington DC on

It IS your place if she is affecting your daughter with it. Just say to her straight out "You're my friend and I love you, but I will not allow my daughter to come back here because I feel that you are a bad example." Period.

You have every right to say this to her and if she gets offended then so be it. If she gets offended and huffy about it then she's not the type of person I would want to be friends with. The proper response to something like that is shame. Your friend sounds like she's stuck in a middle-school mentality, so I wouldn't want my children around her either. You're doing the right thing.



answers from Washington DC on

I think your question is really two questions. First, what do you do about this friendship? Sometimes friendships run their course; sometimes we love people for who they were to us instead of who they are now. You can do that without staying at this lady's house. Second: what about her influence on your daughter? I think you may be overreacting a little here. Why is one three-week visit going to overcome your years of influence--and, more important, the 12 years your daughter has had to see the way you live your life? If anything, it's a great teaching opportunity for you and your daughter--a chance to talk about why some things are wrong and how others can be hurt by them. It's sad that this old friend is raising her own daughter this way, but maybe in whatever limited time you do spend around them, you can be an example of someone who lives a whole different way. The other kid desperately needs another point of view. And kids can be smart; she may have figured out already that her mother is a few sandwiches short of a picnic.



answers from New York on

stay at a hotel.. and if you bring your daughter... have her daughter stay with you at the hotel.... if you hear her daughter talk bad about people... tell her that it is not nice.. and this is not something you want to hear... tell her that everyone has something not great.. but you don't say mean things.. if these people are your freinds then you accept them how they are... good luck



answers from Washington DC on

Just make sure your daughter has other plans during that reunion time and next summer she will have to be signed up in too many "camps" to go visit.


answers from Washington DC on

no, it's not your place. i have folks like this in my life, that i love because of our shared history but can't really be around because their behavior as adults doesn't jive with my personal ethical code of conduct. you can maintain a sweet but distant relationship with her, but you already know that she won't receive your 'advice' well. if you don't care about preserving the friendship, go ahead, but don't kid yourself that you will create an epiphany for her.
your daughter will be fine. she has you for her role model, and she needs to experience all different sorts of folks as she grows. there are probably a lot of positive things she's getting out of her friendship with your old friend's daughter, and this can be a great teaching moment (although i would caution against getting all preachy about it.)
there are probably things about you that drive her nuts too.

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