02/22/2013 12:07 pm ET Updated Apr 24, 2013

When Kids End the Friendship But Parents Hang On

by Jennifer A. Powell-Lunder, Psy.D. for

Does this scenario sound familiar?

You remember when you first met. The two of you hit it off immediately. You seem to connect with each other on a level reserved for people you have known for years. In fact, you have both commented that it seems unbelievable that you really haven't known each other that long. Your kids were best friends and it made things very easy. You made time to hang out together while they enjoyed play dates. It was great to know you had a safe and reliable place to leave your child if you got in a pinch, if you needed a break or time to do errands alone.

Lately, however, things have been a little strained, maybe even a little weird.

The kids have had quarrels or gone their separate ways. Things between them just haven't been the same. And you are sorry for your child. But you also miss the camaraderie you shared with the other parent. You now find yourself wondering if the relationship that felt so real was actually just one born out of convenience. Should you move on and let your mom-friendship continue to fray, or should you try to reclaim the relationship?

This may sound like a question with an easy answer, but there are real emotions involved here. The decision to reclaim the relationship may depend in part on the state of the relationship between the two kids. Have they, for example, simply gone separate ways or are they engaged in a somewhat adversarial relationship? Should that really even matter? Chances are, if you are even contemplating what to do, then you already have an answer.

If you have decided that the relationship has ended, simply let it take its course.

If you want to reclaim the relationship, then it is time to take action. Call up your friend and have a sit-down with her. Be honest and real. Thankfully, you are an adult. Let her know that you miss her. Acknowledge that things have felt strange and strained since your kids are no longer attached at the hip.

Just because the relationship began as a result of your kids, doesn't mean it can't take on a life of its own. Good friends are hard to find. If you have made a true connection, it is worth fighting for. Chances are your friend feels the same way. Discuss ways to work around the difficulties your tweens may have with each other. May a pact to stay out of their troubles. Sure, it would be great if they remained friends, but you know you can't make them.

Avoid activities that force the kids together. Although in theory it may sound great to plan group excursions, your tweens may not agree. They are at a tough age. There are plenty of things you can do without them. Making the friendship more about the two of you will most likely make your bond stronger. Just because you met on the playground doesn't mean the relationship has to stay there.

A true friend is a rare treasure. Who knows, maybe once your tweens reach high school they too will re-connect. If they don't, something wonderful has come out of their initial connection and for that the two of you can be thankful.

Have you had to break up with a mom-friend because your kids had an argument?

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Jennifer A. Powell-Lunder, Psy. D. is currently a clinical administrator on an adolescent inpatient unit in a private psychiatric hospital. She is an adjunct Professor of Psychology at Pace University and maintains a private outpatient practice. She is also the creator of, a forum for family and friends.