Families: Child Rearing: Good Buddy, Bad Mom

Does a difference in parenting styles have to break up a friendship?

After Carla met Nancy in the elevator of their New York City apartment building two years ago, she was thrilled to have found a bona fide girlfriend, as well as a "mom" friend. Not only could they organize playdates for their 4-year-old daughters, but the two women could also talk about everything from the local downtown art scene to thorny in-law situations.

There was, however, one area in which they disagreed: how to raise kids. Carla (who, like the other women interviewed for this article, didn't want her real name or that of her friend used) watched with alarm as...

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