Whitefield Academy Blog
Friends: Why Parents Need Them
When the first day at a new school comes around, the entirety of the focus is on the student. Be sure to have the right backpack and lunch box, know where your classroom is, and most of all, make new friends! It’s tempting for parents to cover up with sunglasses and drive through the carpool line (very slowly of course) without giving a second thought to the parents in the cars flanking us. Who’s reminding the parents that we need to make new friends too?
The Family that Plans Field Trips Together…
The camaraderie of parents is very important, especially at a small school. Many of us have chosen to send our children to a small school because we like the familial feel of it, but with the “familial feel” comes a lot of responsibility. Parent volunteers run a majority of the after school programs, drive for field trips, run parties, and lead fundraisers. It’s crucial to have a close knit parent group behind all of these activities because the closer parents are, the easier it is to be honest about needs, fill in gaps, ask for help, and have fun while doing it!
Close Relationships are Crucial for Your Kids
The most important reason that I have found, however, for being close with the parents of your child’s classmates is that it enables you to better help your child when they have issues with another student. I recently received a text from the mom of one of my kindergartner’s best friends. She graciously and delicately told me that my daughter had behaved in a way that hurt her daughter’s feelings. Because this mom and I are friends, rather than becoming defensive about my daughter, I trusted this mom’s judgment and was able to talk to my daughter about what happened. Through a quick conversation, we were able to co-parent our daughters and give them language to use with each other to help heal the rift. It’s important for us to model loving and forgiving friendships to our children. Sniping at home about another parent only teaches our kids to do the same.
The Best Part!
My favorite reason, though, for becoming close friends with the moms and dads in my daughters’ classes is that it’s fun! These are families with whom my family has a lot in common. We see each other daily, we have similar beliefs and rules for our kids, and we are weathering some of the same trials. I see our school as a ready-made group of friends that will be in our lives for at least the next twelve years and hopefully beyond.
So How Do We Do This?
All the reasons to be friendly with other parents are great, but let’s be honest, making friends when you’re an adult is hard! So here are some suggestions for growing closer with the other moms and dads at your child’s school. First, just go ahead and assume that everyone wants more friends. Approach every new encounter with a fellow parent as though you are cool enough to be their friend, because you are! Second, don’t wait for someone to invite you to do something. Go out on a limb and do the inviting yourself. Invite all the parents to a happy hour. Text a few moms to see if they want to get coffee after the field trip you’re chaperoning. Hang out after school on the playground with your kiddos and chat with the other parents. Third, snoop around and see what parent activities your school offers. There might be a book club that some moms do or maybe a prayer group. Parent/teacher organizations are great ways to meet parents from other grades. Finally, do your best to be involved in the other families’ lives. Be conscious about checking in on people; ask how they’re doing and genuinely mean it.
For most of us, parenting is one of the hardest things that we will ever do. It’s much easier and more fun to do it in a community. So take off those sunglasses and commune with some fellow parents! You’ll be happy you did!