I’ve heard so many times in so many different ways that you should be your child’s parent and not their friend. And i always agreed. Then i became a parent. As my child gets older i’m realizing that we were wrong. We SHOULD be friends with our kids. Whoever thinks otherwise has a pretty messed up version of friendship.
Dictionary.com defines friend:
I think we can all probably agree that the definition that fits best for common usage is one and three. So here’s my defense for being my child’s friend:
1. i am greatly attached to him and have great regard for him. He is smart, funny, compassionate, thoughtful. Who DOESN’T want someone like that as a friend?
3. why in the world would anyone not want to be on good terms with their child or wants to be hostile with them? This doesn’t mean that you’re always going to get along. In any healthy relationship, people don’t always agree, but can still be on good terms. Sure, there are people who can’t be on terms with people who make them angry, but who wants to be friends with people like that?
i will always advocate for my child. i will not always agree with what he does. i will discipline him with love. i will offer advice and guidance. i will cherish my time with him. i will be his friend and confidant. i strive to maintain his trust. He might not always like me. some days i don’t like him. but is that what friendship is really about??
I think that when people say we should be our children’s parent and not their friend what they really mean is that we shouldn’t seek their approval or make decisions just to please them. Well, we probably shouldn’t be doing things for our friends’ approval or to please them either.
Maybe many people have confused friendship with co-dependency. i could argue that the books we read, movies/tv shows we watch, and music we listen to has perpetuated this confusion, but that’s a whole other post. (and if i ever write it and it gets popular Disney will probably sue me for defamation, so it may go unwritten…)
Instead of saying that we shouldn’t be friends with our kids, i think we really need to re-evaluate what we mean by friendship. Certainly i wouldn’t confide in my son all of my secrets, but i can only think of one person that i would. i certainly have more than one friend. But i don’t share my deepest darkest secrets with all of them. i divulge information based on what i think is appropriate at the time. i’m sure sometimes i overshare, but i try not to. When it comes to sharing things with my son, i do so based on what is appropriate for his age. If he shares something he’s struggling with i relate to him a similar situation i’ve been in. isn’t that what we do with our friends? we share life together. we bond. we have moments and inside secrets and sometimes we want to kill each other. we yell and scream, but at the end of the day we love each other and wouldn’t trade it for the world. i love my son. and i am proud to be his friend.