How would you answer this mom?


Dear Amy: My 13-year-old daughter’s best friend, “Heather,” is an only child whose parents’ lives revolve totally around her. She is spoiled with new clothes, makeup, extravagant trips, spending money and Starbucks at whim.

My daughter loves this girl, but struggles with jealousy that I am not able to provide the same for her.

Even if I won the lottery, I still wouldn’t give all of this to my children, because I want them to grow up with solid values and coping mechanisms for not getting everything they want the minute they want it.

I have tried to tell her friend’s mother that we can’t afford these things because of our family’s income, rather than point out that we have different parenting philosophies.

I tell her how much I am struggling and trying not to raise spoiled kids that expect everything to come to them without working for it. I tell her that I want my daughter to be grateful for what she has, and to work for what she wants.

She responds that she gives her daughter all she does because she works so hard in school and cleans her room without asking.

Every time I think that this mom understands where I am coming from, she immediately goes back to her spending and spoiling ways! And the daughter has started making comments to my daughter about my being cheap and too strict.

I don’t think it’s right for me to tell my daughter who she can be friends with. However, she knows how I feel about her friend and her parents, and she knows that if she compares or complains to me about it, I will stop inviting her friend to our home.

I am looking for any advice on how to talk to my daughter about reality, good financial values and how to handle this friendship without resentment and comparison. — Grounded Mom

Dear Grounded: First off, stop trying to parent these other parents. They are raising their daughter the way they want to. Your input is judgmental and seems self-serving, as if you want them to do things differently in order to make things easier for you.

Thirteen-year-olds often struggle with questions of status. Adolescents frequently express the desire for and jealousy over material possessions.

Your only job is to continue to convey your own values to your daughter, as in, “Well, we know that ‘Heather’ has all sorts of cool stuff, but there will always be someone around you who has more. And you are lucky enough to have more than others. I hope that you can work on your jealousy, because it is making you unhappy in this friendship.”

Your involvement in this other family’s parenting is completely inappropriate. You are contributing to the problem, because you are telling your daughter that Heather and Heather’s parents are responsible for her own negative feelings and behavior.