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Children’s friendships after moms break up

Published: June 4, 2014 | By | 4 Replies Continue Reading
Is it possible to salvage a daughter’s friendship after the moms break up?



I made a decision to end my 10-year long friendship. The worst thing is that my little girl who is 8 years old has been best friends with my friend’s little girl who is only 4 months younger than her.

My friend and I had some issues that started right after her baby was born, jealousy and envy about how smart and advanced my daughter was, even the looks of my girl. Her girl is a cutie to me but sadly, her mother always made comments to me about how ugly her baby was and how pretty mine was—in a joking manner, but not really if you know what I mean.

As the girls have grown, my daughter continues to overachieve. Even though her daughter is smart and can play soccer extremely well, she doesn’t have confidence and has been very shy.

After a disagreement, my friend made some remarks about my daughter that confirmed once again that she is angry at her success at school. How can I explain to my daughter that we can no longer be friends with the other family ? I’ve mentioned to her that we are not going to their house or having them coming over, that we need a break from each other but she continues to ask for her friend. I finally told her that even though I love my friend, she did something that I can no longer allow. My daughter was devastated to know that her friendship would also suffer. I hate putting her through this. I know the feeling of losing a friend.

Signed, Pia


Dear Pia,

I’m sorry to hear about the end of your friendship but I’m glad you’re able to separate out your feelings about your friend and still see the positive attributes of her daughter.

Just because moms break up doesn’t necessarily mean that their children have to go the same route. You and your daughter are separate individuals and even though your daughter is only eight, she’s capable and it’s healthy to encourage her to make decisions about who she wants in her social circle.

  • Will the children still be able to see each other in school and/or on the playground? At an afterschool activity?
  • Do you feel as though your friend is so jealous or angry that you no longer feel comfortable allowing your daughter to go to her house for play dates (without you)?
  • Would you feel comfortable if the girls saw each other in your home?

You can’t control whether your former friend will allow the relationship between the girls to continue, but for the sake of your daughter, maybe there is some way you can maintain it without cutting it off entirely.

Signed, *Amy Feld

*Amy Feld, PhD, MSW has trained and worked as a child psychologist.

Disclaimer: Nothing in this or any other post is intended to substitute for medical, psychiatric or clinical diagnosis/treatment or legal advice. Rather, all posts are written as the type of advice that one friend might give to another.

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Category: Helping children deal with friendship problems, KEEPING FRIENDS

Comments (4)

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  1. Patty says:

    Thanks for this post, Pia. Its heartening to read that I am not the only mom in the world to feel the same way you did for a similar experience.
    I too decided to end the four year friendhip I had with my 8 year old daughter’s classmate’s mom.
    I love involving myself with the girls and their dance lessons, play time, study and extra curricular activities, making me a popular mom. My daughter also is a natural pick at all school recitals, inter school competitions, basket ball, etc and the teachers are very fond of her. My ex friend’s daughter, though an average student, is a normal, sparkling girl. I guess this all made my friend jealous. And I just didnt see it coming.
    Our families had a very happy relationship, going for outings, weekend trips, pajama parties, etc. One day, the girls had some minor disagreement, like all girls their age do. Her daughter went home crying. Her mom immediately called me up out of the blue, fuming and making false accusations that my daughter was bullying her daughter and hence could not perform better in school.Though stunned at the sudden barage, I tried talking sense to her to no avail. I then spoke to the teacher and the common baby sitter to understand the truth. Everybody sided my daughter vouching for her kindness and telling us that she was just not capable of harming her friend, assuring me it was a growing up spat kids normally have. This further enraged her, as her over reaction was proved. A few common friends tried to patch us up but things after that were never the same.
    After the fall out, I maintained my distance not wanting to disrupt the friendship the girls had. They too played normally, my daughter reassuring me that all was fine. Her friend, though, didnt warm up to me as she used to before.
    So when my daughter’s birthday came up, she made a short list of close friends that she wanted at her party and included her ‘friend’ as well. ‘Friend’ didnt turn up for the party alright ( though her mom confirmed) and also got two other girls to miss the fun. And she neither did she called to wish nor even left a courtesy message. My daughter was very dissapointed.
    It breaks your heart as a parent to see your child heart broken for no fault of hers. Though we do try to imbibe the right values in our children, there are some parents who will let their immaturity come in the way. I almost blamed myself as well for putting my daughter through this. All I wished for was that the girls should have healthy relationships.
    My husband and me have now spoken to my daughter and advised her to make new friends and move on. Kids get over it easily, its difficult for parents to understand though. Also with passage of time, the girls will eventually grow apart. And I am sure they will emphatise with us, once they are parents themselves.
    Its sad that some people act like this not realising they are harming their own child by their small “wins”. I can understand protecting your ward, but sometimes parents approach the situation with a closed mind. So going by my experience, I feel it is better if the kids also gradually go their seperate ways, as did their parents. Better to show indifference than to encourage in such situations.

  2. Buster S says:

    Dear Pia,
    I come to known your ending a 10 yr friendship with a close
    family friend, DONT! I know as we adults we have to truely
    see and listen to the voices our children are saying? We’re
    angry at things we adults can Change,but the True Feelings
    are deep within our children’s soul, their HEARTS! Children
    live to be HAPPY & LOVED and FORGIVINGS is PEACE!

  3. Lucy says:

    Thanks for writing. This has been the hardest for me.

    I was many of my friends’ preschool teacher for their children. When BFF and I broke up. It was before I had major surgery.

    Being that I was her children’s preschool teacher, I had a responsibility to lead by example.

    So for the first year, play dates continued by having BFF’s mom bring the children over after school , or to bday parties etc. (Maybe 3 dates total for the whole year) Then BFF starts to realize the arrangement is not bringing her and I back together. (She’s a career gal, very busy)

    Now 3 years into this arrangement I’m held hostage to a bad friend. She has had her mom cancel on me and reschedule, sent gifts that were inappropriate to bday parties, shes had me pick up the kids because the nanny forgot. She texts me now just to see if I can… And if i dont mind…The kids(hers and mine) depend on me to make it right but I cannot handle another bully move from BFF. So I have ceased communication after school ended and she’s asked me to care for her kids all summer, ya know as a friend. I said I would with a contract. I even drew one up. She said “never mind, I’m done with this conversation”

    She had gotten my daughter concert tickets for her birthday in Feb, concert is in 2 weeks. She even got me a ticket to force me into going. Now I know she did that, so she could take it away if I didn’t do what she wanted.

    I have decided not to reply. They aren’t my kids. I tried. I am proud that I tried but I got the same result, disappointment. No concert for us either. Its NOT worth it.

    I think my BFF is a an extreme case of narcissistic personality and so maybe the neutral party bringing your friends kids to a party or play date will work for you. I caution you that you dont let it trap you into being responsible for your friends’ kids.

  4. tanja says:

    It is very hard when friends break up, it is almost like a romantic relationship break up but in some cases can be much worse.

    I went through this a year and a half ago and it still affects me now. Our sons were 4 yrs old at the time. My friend said at a New Years Eve party that she and her husband think that we think we are better than them. The funny thing is that I never ever thought about it until she said it out loud. I don’t go around thinking who I am better than, i just live my life. So, I really did not know how to respond to that. A week later, she lashed out at my twin sister and said that as a teacher, she doesn’t work that hard. My friend is a stay at home mom like myself and my twin sister is a hard working teacher, who supports her family and a husband that stays home with the kids. She then told my sister “I work hard, no one pays me to work…where’s my paycheque?” to which my sister responded that it is a ridiculous argument because her husband works and someone has to support the family and in my sister’s case, she was supporting the family and not her husband. She pointed out that this friend will not go to her male friends and say this. It was clear that there was jealousy. Her religious views and traditional roles and political views were very different from ours.

    I was not ready to end the friendship but she did. She took both of us off facebook and blocked us. There was no real fight except for that. It was clear that she was jealous and did not want to have anything to do with us. I had known her for 4 yrs. Since our sons were born and they were friends. When I went to teacher’s college, she babysat my son. Her home was my son’s second home at age 2.

    So, needless to say, when she abruptly ended the friendship I had no idea how to tell my son. To this day he still talks about his friend Charlie. I couldn’t bare to tell him that his mom didn’t want anything to do with us anymore. So, we avoided talking about for almost a year. Finally, when we saw that our son was not forgetting and at his 5th birthday, he was still asking for his friend Charlie, months later. I had to say something. I told him that over the past few months, I had been trying to contact them and I got to response. I told him through some advice on a mom’s column, that I had learned through a friend that they had moved back to Poland. I showed him on the map where Poland is. He asked if they would ever be back again and I said I don’t know. He asked why they didn’t say good bye and I said that sometimes friends care about each other a lot but have to go separate ways and it gets hard to say good bye. The only thing I am glad about is that the last time we saw them, we were at a party and we stayed the night and we said good bye then. So, I said maybe the party was a way of them saying good bye.

    My son was so sweet, he said “Charlie is still my friend, even though I can’t see him anymore”. He asked if it was okay to miss him and I said of course. I talked about the death of my dad, that happened the year before and talked to him about how I miss my dad and missing someone is okay and it helps to talk about our feelings with someone we love and trust. We had a “sad” but great talk and at the end he hugged me and said that he felt better.

    Since then, if we go to the store, he will point at a toy and say I remember that toy, Charlie had it. I told him this year that since we are going to Jamaica, he will not have a big birthday this year, maybe it will be just family and he said “That is okay, too bad Charlie can’t be here”. So, my son has a great memory. I sometimes wonder if Charlie remembers my son son in the same way and asks about him. I wonder what his mom told him and if she even had to say anything to him at all.

    Some things I will never know. But, I do not that kids are resilient and they will bounce back. I think of it this way: am I friends with any of my childhood friends? no, I am not. My friends are still from high school and I talk to them once a year. The newer friends I met in my neighbourhood and I have my husband and my sister. But, really has you get older, life gets busy and how many friends do people really have? It is lucky to have at least 2 friends outside of your marriage. So your daughter will be fine. She will make new friends and most friends will not stick until she gets to high school. It is the circle of life. But, it is sad and it gets sad for me at times when my son speaks his name. But he will be okay and so will your daughter.

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