Ask Maggie: What Do I Do About Overbearing Parents?

January 1, 2019

Dear Maggie,

My son's best friend's parents are crazy. Daily text messages, taking pictures of my kids constantly at school (they volunteer), regular attempts to get the kids together (not the normal occasional texts, but obsessive ones). Facebook stalking, everything. I don't want to tell my kid who to be friends with, but how do I stop the crazy?

Dear Stop the Crazy,

Number one. I always tell my kids who they should befriend. I am street smarter than my children, waaaaaaay more savvy, and can foresee into the friend future. I am like a Magic 8-Ball. 

After three children, plus one amazing stepper -- ages 14, 13, 12, and 10 -- I am no longer friendly, I am no longer unnecessarily chatty, and I’m pretty much out of patience with things that make zero sense to me.   

I’m not so sure when this happened. I wish I could warn those of you still spry and friendly that you have “this much time left” until you’re like me. Sadly, I can only offer that it probably happened during some month that started with the letter J, F, M, A, S, O, N, or D or perhaps a month when I was asked to volunteer for yet another endless school function. (WHY ARE THERE SO MANY OF THEM NOW?!)

So, I hope that is helpful to you.   

People like this make no sense to me and indeed, you’re so right, seem needy on the surface. (You said it, not me! Okay fine. I totally said it!) I’m sure they’re lovely in their hearts and motives, but they sound like true P.I.T.A.'s who suffocate things that live. You should run.

All kidding aside. Somewhat.

The truth is, you won’t stop these people unless you’re a steel-eyed monster. Blunt and uncaring. A cold instrument of callous. One that’s ready to kill off your child’s friendship when you stare these maniacs down and crazy whisper, “COOL YOUR JETS.”   

You should also complete the following ASAP:

  • Block the texts 
  • Keep it cold in person. Like Vanilla Ice. 
  • Unfriend on Facebook – the ultimate move. 

Too harsh? You haven’t hit that special month that releases you from all caring?

Fine-- then go GHOST. Write Mark Z. for directions on that voodoo magic setting that allows only a select group to see your actual Facebook posts. To the world, you are an endless stagnant FB profile with tumbleweeds blowing. To your invited insiders ... it’s Mardi Gras baby!

If that’s the road for you, then I bid you the best, tip my hat to you and sing you "Happy Trails." While you may go down in history as the MOST AMAZING person EVER (in my book) -- your kiddo will be a Lone Ranger. For sure. Because if there’s one thing I can guarantee you, this is a package deal. 

They are what they are. You can’t change them. You won’t change them annnnnnnd (cue harps!) you don’t have to change them. There’s no rule that says you have to respond in any way to their texts, FB stalking, invites etc. We are all under some guise that says responsibility is response. It’s not.

Wait… there is something else I can guarantee.  

This friendship will have a season. 

Don’t sweat it, my friend. Cool your own jets, ghost the heck out of them, encourage the kids to take charge of this crazy, and wait for that sweet, sweet month when the season of their friendship ends. Or when you come into your own season, a month starting with the letter J, F, M, A, S, O, N, or D. 

Maggie always says... if you can’t say something nice… COME SIT BY ME. So don’t respond unless you want to. 

If your son is old enough, encourage him and his friend to communicate on the device that probably cost you what seven 10-speeds would have cost in the 1980s and lay that mess on him!

When you will join me? Cold, unfriendly, and -- more importantly -- no longer parent volunteer material and totally cool with it.  

Until then, Happy Trails!