5 Rules of the Mom Mafia
If you really want to know what your kids are up to all the time, you’re going to need some help. That’s where your “mom friends” come in. These are the moms of your kids’ friends who will be around your children and their gang of buddies when you might not be. They’ll hear things you won’t, and will pick up information from their own child about yours. They can be an important ally in the fight to keep your kids safe, healthy and happy.
But to make your little version of the Mom Mafia work, you need to know the rules.
Build Relationships with Key Informants.
If you don’t have a social relationship or friendship with any of the parents of your kids’ friends—get busy. It’s important to know these people well if your child is going to be hanging out in their home and spend lots of time with their child. Besides just knowing that they, as a family, share your values and have similar boundaries for their kids, those other parents can keep you “in the loop” if there’s something you need to know.
Get Over the Guilt.
Some moms have been duped into the idea that to check up on their kids or ask questions is to deny them respect and trust. But we promise you, the child who will kick and scream about this “invasion of privacy” might be a child who has something to hide. Your first job is to be a parent—not a friend.
Protect Your Sources.
This one is from Intelligence Gathering 101. If another member of the Mom Mafia tells you that your 7th grader was sitting with a boy at the movies when you thought you were dropping her off to see the show with her girlfriends do not say, “Mrs. Williams saw you and called me.” That will only ensure that your child will hide her disobedience from Mrs. Williams in the same way she hides it from you, making this informant ineffective in the future. Just let her wonder how you know—it will make her think the walls have ears, and if that’s what it takes to keep her honest, so be it.
Share and Share Alike.
If you want other moms to go out on a limb for you, you need to be willing to do the same for them. Take the time to listen out when the gang is at your house for things that you know would be concerning to other moms, and use wisdom about when to “file a report.” When in doubt, go ahead and share what you know, with the disclaimer that you don’t know for sure if this thing is an issue, but you want the other mom to make that call.
Don’t be Sensitive.
As moms, we’re naturally protective of our children and want to defend them. So having another mom come to you and tell you that your child was seen drinking, or cheating on a test, or had some other breakdown in character or integrity can be hard to hear. Don’t shoot the messenger, as they say, just because you don’t like hearing the message. Even if you think the other mom may have her information wrong in some way, thank her for caring about your child and being willing to intervene. If you make her feel like the villain, she’ll never share again.
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