A free personal online advice column

October 19, 2003
Dear Jenn,

My friend disciplines and mothers her children very differently from me. When they come to visit, they teach my children bad habits and act in ways that makes me and my husband uncomfortable. I don't want to tell her that she and her children can't visit anymore, but I don't want them here acting like this, either. How can I approach her about this?

Dear Torn Mother,
You have to be very careful how you handle this. No mother wants to hear that she is being a bad mother. And no matter how you say this, she will probably think that's what you are implying. When you talk to her, illustrate the differences only in the way each of you are raising your children. Not good or bad, just different. Then ask HER what she thinks is a good compromise. When you give someone else the opportunity to come up with a solution, you'll usually find that they came up with what you were thinking originally, or even something better! She'll think it was her idea, and she'll appreciate that you trusted her to come up with a solution.

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