If my child has soured on your child, can we still be friends? How do parents keep a friendship going without making it awkward for the children who can’t stand each other anymore?
D.D. / Belmont
Oh, honey, if you don’t teach your kids about social awkwardness at home, they’re just going to learn about it in the streets, and then who knows what ideas they might get? Knowing how to amicably share space with people you dislike and can’t avoid is a life skill, one that children are never too young to start practicing.
You — although a parent! — get to have your very own social life centered around the people whose company you find most pleasing. That’s the principle, anyway, even if the logistics can get challenging. If sometimes this means you drag your kids someplace they find boring — whether because of the absence of children or the presence of unsatisfactory ones — well, that’s what books and devices are for.
Your child — although a child! — has that same right to a self-chosen social life. Don’t try to force D.D. Junior into an unwanted friendship just so you can have intergenerational matchy-matchy BFFs. It should be acceptable for the kids to entertain themselves separately while you and your friend get your grown-up time in.