Friends again

The Sunday Telegraph - Stella - - #ONEDAY -

You go from dip­ping a toe at din­ner par­ties to full-on im­mer­sion in friends’ par­ent­ing and mar­i­tal dra­mas

a 60 per cent rise in larger villa book­ings since 2014, al­most cer­tainly due to squeezed bud­gets – one of the bonuses of a shared hol­i­day is the chance to save money.

For us, the fi­nan­cial and so­cial sides were equally ap­peal­ing. My then-hus­band and

I – we split up three years ago – had three daugh­ters (his) and a son (mine) be­tween us, and en­vis­aged them en­joy­ing a chance to play with friends while the adults relaxed. This vi­sion lasted un­til day two, when ev­ery­one’s best be­hav­iour be­gan to slide.

We should have known bet­ter af­ter our French hol­i­day dis­as­ter with Adam and Rose (‘They have girls the same age, it’ll be great!’). Our plane ar­rived two hours af­ter theirs, and by the time we got to the gîte, they’d bagged the airy, en-suite mas­ter bed­room, leav­ing us with the sauna of a box room, de­spite us all hav­ing paid the same amount.

There’s also no guar­an­tee your chil­dren will want to spend a week with kids they’d barely speak to at school – my son didn’t – and even less cer­tainty that your at­tempts at re­solv­ing prob­lems will echo your friends’ ap­proach. A burst of pre-teen rude­ness usu­ally had me with my ther­a­pist hat on, gently prob­ing for what was wrong; Adam’s ap­proach was to yell first and ask ques­tions later – af­ter the cav­al­cade of slam­ming doors and re­tal­ia­tory shout­ing. My way didn’t al­ways work, but at least it was quiet.

‘ We all have dif­fer­ent ways of par­ent­ing,’ ex­plains psy­chother­a­pist Diana Parkin­son. ‘ We can be very pro­tec­tive of our own chil­dren, and while they may fall out and

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