When Your Children Don't Get On With Your Friends' Kids

17/04/2011 18:29 | Updated 22 May 2015

when your child doesnt get along with your friends childYou and your closest friends have shared everything from girls' nights out and bottles of wine through to tears during the tough times, but just because you all get on does it follow that your kids will too?

When my best friend had her first son just a year after I had my daughter and we naturally hoped they'd get on. Happily our children have been firm friends since day one; in fact the only threat to their harmonious friendship was a 'biting incident' several years ago; which made for an awkward five minutes but has since been laughed about.

Telling a friend you'd rather see them on their own than with their kids is a tough one; one friend of mine used to regularly suggest meeting up with our children, (her two boys with my daughter), at weekends and school holidays. In the early days this was fine when the kids were small, but as they've grown up their interests, personalities and even just a couple of years age gap have become more apparent and they've got nothing in common. After running out of excuses, I tackled the tricky subject over a glass of wine one night and told her I thought the children didn't seem to get on as well, and 'maybe it's just an age thing' suggesting we stick to meeting up without the kids.

She seemed to accept this; but just a short time later we were back where we started and the invitations were coming again; although now due to distance we tend to only meet a few times a year and, as it's often an evening, we've now fallen into the easier routine of meeting up without our children.

Of course as adults we can usually recognise a personality clash; and just because we're close to our friends; it doesn't automatically follow that our kids will get on.

'My best school friend and I have just accepted our kids won't be such close friends as us', says Wendy, mum to two girls aged five and eight. She says when they all meet up there's always someone who gets 'left out'; games can't be agreed on and 'it makes for a stressful day but it's not worth losing a friendship over', so their solution was to agree to meet up without the kids. 'Luckily we weren't blaming each others kids, which could get awkward; it was just of case of 'they don't get on, but we do, so for now we've agreed to meet up without them.'

Get the balance right

Parenting author Antonia Chitty shares her tips on calming and avoiding these situations.

• Your kids may be the same age; but there can be a big gulf in maturity levels with girls feeling boys are 'little boys'.

• Don't 'force' friendship; if you're out as a group let your child bring a toy or game along if they don't want to play.

• It's OK to see less of each other; be 'busy' to break the cycle of regular invitations and have the odd 'dentist' appointment.

• Get issues out in the open but avoid making accusations; use open questions like 'have you noticed the children aren't getting on as well?'

• Meet up without your kids if they're going through a tricky stage; suggest a coffee to enjoy a 'child free' chat!

Has this happened to you?

Do you make excuses or sit out the arguments?

And can it destroy a friendship?

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