Welcome to our fourth “Your Relationship Questions Answered” column. Our relationship experts, Hava Rahimian and Tara West, answer this week’s question about your children’s friendships and how it can impact your friendships. Such a great question! You can send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Sandra Casagrand, Founder, Publisher.
Dear Hava and Tara,
My daughter has been best friends with her friend Katie since they were in kindergarten. They are both now in sixth grade and I’ve noticed that over the past year, my daughter and Katie have drifted apart. During those early years in elementary school, Katie’s mother, Julie and I were also very close and still remain good friends to this day.
My question is : How can I maintain my friendship with Julie even though my daughter is no longer interested in maintaining her close friendship with Katie?
Friendly No More?
This is a very common concern amongst parents with middle school aged children like yourself. First off, I’d like to commend you for not pushing the friendship onto your daughter as so many parents try to do, and fail miserably. It is absolutely possible for you to maintain your friendship which is a separate friendship than the one your daughter and Katie have developed and are now questioning. It’s not uncommon for relationships to shift and change as people grow, evolve and develop a sense of self. It sounds like this is exactly where your daughter and Katie are finding themselves with regards to their own sense of self and how that fits into their existing friendship.
My suggestion to you would be to reach out to Julie and make an effort to create opportunities to spend time with her outside of your daughters’ friendship. Don’t wait until your daughter and Katie have completely severed the friendship ; start now so that you can build on the existing friendship and continue to strengthen your relationship outside of what path your daughter and Katie’s friendship takes.
My guess is that Julie has also felt the distance between Katie and your daughter and is also questioning where your friendship now stands. Reach out to her and have an open conversation. Be honest about your feelings surrounding your friendship with her and make sure you steer clear of discussing your girls’ friendship as to not cross any boundaries into their friendship. We all need solid friendships and the real good ones are worth fighting for.
About Tara and Hava Our relationship experts, Hava Rahimian and Tara West, are two friends that met in college and both embarked on careers as licensed counselors (LMFT& LMHC) . They’ve maintained their friendship through the years even as their lives took them to different sides of the country and ultimately different career paths. Tara made a life change a few years ago and took the leap to becoming a fashion styling, shopping and content creator.