Care and Feeding

Our Daughter Is Being Forbidden from Seeing Her Best Friend for the Weirdest Reason

Can this girl’s mom be serious?

A teen girl looks annoyed with pink hair.
Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by Getty Images Plus.

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Dear Care and Feeding,

My ex-wife and I have a 14-year-old son and a 12-year-old daughter who we share custody of. Our daughter recently asked us if she could get pink highlights, and we both said she could. She’s very happy with them. They match a lot of her clothes and her glasses, and she only gets compliments about them from her friends.

My daughter’s best friend’s mother called both my ex-wife and myself individually and yelled at us for allowing our daughter to dye her hair, because now the friend wants to dye her hair too. Our daughter is blonde so we didn’t have to bleach her hair, but the friend has dark hair and would need to bleach it in order to dye it. The best friend’s mother was clear that she did not want our daughter to hang out with hers anymore. My ex-wife told our daughter this, and our daughter said she’s going to hang out with her best friend anyway. Do I have to enforce this rule? Would it be fine if I said to my daughter that I do not care if you continue to be friends with your friend even if your friend’s mom doesn’t want you to? Or would that be considered undermining the other girl’s parents?

— Pink Problems

Dear Pink Problems,

If you’re truly concerned about “undermining” the other mother, there’s really no need to say anything to your daughter; just let the kids figure it out on their own, as kids so often do. I genuinely don’t see how you, your ex-wife, or the friend’s mom could enforce the “no friendship” rule, anyway—if your children want to talk to each other and hang out at school, they will! Parents can make it a lot harder for non-driving kids to see each other outside of school, but ultimately, we can’t control who they call a friend. It’s too bad the best friend’s mother chose to react this way. I hope she will come to her senses, feel deeply embarrassed about her behavior (as she should!), and relent in this.