I was surprised and amused to read a story on this topic in the Washington Post titled 'Is Bad Parenting A Friendship Killer?'
Years ago, I came to the conclusion that there were some people I just could not be friends with based on their parenting. After experiencing destructive behaviors and rude manners with no parental intervention, the friend attraction would fade fast.
My first memory of this was a boy who would sit on his kitchen counter and kick at his mother while she tied his shoes. He thought this was funny. Sometimes his foot would make contact with her head or body. She’d react in pain and whine to him to stop but that was it. I’d wait for her to end the nonsense, only to feel frustration that this was accepted behavior.
When the same child charged toward my seven-months-along abdomen with a sharp toy in hand, I reacted much differently than his mother. I blocked his arm, looked directly in his eyes and firmly said “Stop!” About to be ex-friend just carried on like nothing happened.
That was an exhausting friendship. The woman I initially loved hanging out with became someone I no longer respected. I had similar experiences happen over time with the same result. From then on, when I’d sense a parent asleep at the wheel, that was my warning to back away from a potential friendship. I am not a perfect parent and I’m not interesting in befriending perfect parents. I fail at it quite a bit myself.
These kids weren't out of control. The parents just weren't interested in parenting. An essay from The Imperfect Parent.com by Eliana Osborn, ‘Can You Be Friends With A Bad Mom?’ was quoted in the Post story:
I don’t respect people who don’t take parenting seriously. This is the biggest deal out there. I certainly don’t have all the answers, but at least I’m trying. If you want to be my friend and you’ve got kids, it turns out I have some requirements.
“What it comes down to is this: you have to be the adult. That doesn’t mean you get it right every time. It means you don’t let your kids boss you around, hit you, defy you, at every turn. If that isn’t your vision of how you want things to be with your kids, then I guess we aren’t going to be able to hang out. I’m sorry.
She completely captured my feelings.It’s tough enough finding new people to connect with every few years as the military moves you. Does parenting effect your friendships?