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Tell nit-picky mom of son’s missteps

Hi, Carolyn: A friend of mine, “Sara,” has many great qualities, but one thing is starting to make this friendship wear thin.

We both have 8-year-old boys, and Sara seems to think her son can do no wrong. When I pick my son up from playing at her house, Sara will always have some tiny infraction to report that my son did “wrong.” (He had his feet on the chair! He didn’t say thank you!) When I have her son at my house, he might do similar things, but, in my opinion, unless it involves hurting someone physically or emotionally, it’s not worth mentioning.

I finally got tired of sending my son over there to be judged. He’s 8! How can I salvage the friendship, but put a stop to this judging? – Miffed

She sounds lovely.

Certainly skip the play dates if your son isn’t comfortable there.

If he is, then, next time she presents you with a tiny-infraction report, say something to her along the lines of, “Right, I’ve been meaning to ask … ,” then, this:

“When your son does stuff like this at my house, I let it slide, because I don’t see it as important enough to report to you unless someone gets hurt. Would you rather know about things like thank-yous and feet on a chair, though? Or are you OK with our having different approaches?”

You thereby make your point that you don’t care about feet on a chair aahhhgh; acknowledge that she does; disabuse her of any notion that her child is perfect; and offer a respectful compromise. Just what play dates are for.

Email Carolyn at tellme@washpost.com, follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ carolyn.hax or chat with her online at 9 a.m.each Friday at www.washington post.com.


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