I’m proud to call my child “friend”.

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:

noun

1. a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard.
2. a person who gives assistance; patron; supporter: friends of the Boston Symphony.
3. a person who is on good terms with another; a person who is not hostile: Who goes there? Friend or foe?
4. a member of the same nation, party, etc.
5. ( initial capital letter  ) a member of the Religious Society of Friends; a Quaker.

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.

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If you can’t say something nice…

…don’t say anything at all.

i’ve been very quiet lately.  Not in the tone of voice sense.  i’m still loud when i talk.  i’m just not saying as much.  i’m caring less and less about my opinions.  i still have them, but i don’t feel the need to share them.

This space is my exception.  Because people can stop reading at any time.

i used to enjoy dry, sarcastic humor.  Most sarcastic people are cynical and relatively to highly intelligent.  Sarcasm is an intellectual snob’s guilty pleasure.  And it’s very condescending.

i didn’t always like it.  But i was told that i needed tougher skin and not to be so sensitive.  So i learned how to play the game.  and i got good at it.  too good.  mean, even.  And if you didn’t know i was joking, you were either stupid or overly-sensitive and needed to grow a pair.  And i saw absolutely nothing wrong with this.

Something’s changed.  Don’t get me wrong:  there is a time and a place for witty sarcasm.  But it is overused and it is mean.  One thing i’m having an especially hard time swallowing is the way i see husbands/wives or boyfriends/girlfriends or parents/children treating each other on facebook (in particular).  It breaks my heart.

After some healing time, my ex-husband and i became roommates.  And we decided to be nice to each other.  There was enough junk hitting us in the real world, that we wanted our home to be a sanctuary away from the drama and stresses outside.  That didn’t work out perfectly, but it worked out well enough.  Sometimes i wonder how our marriage would have gone if we would have just been nicer to each other.  Anyway, during this time, my ex-husband became one of my best friends.  He was there for me when i got pregnant and didn’t have the support of the father.  To this day, i consider him my brother.

Shouldn’t it be even more-so for people who supposedly love each other?  Shouldn’t we be protecting the reputations of  the ones we love and not picking at their faults (sarcastically or not) in a public forum?  It appalls me that some people have little to no regard for other people’s feelings.  I don’t care if the person can “handle it” or not. i could “handle it” and dish it back twice as hard.   We shouldn’t have to have tough skin to be around the people who supposedly love us.  The people who love us should be a safe place, where we can be vulnerable and broken and free from judgement.  And yet, sometimes it seems like we get “bullied” more by those who are closest to us.

So today i’m choosing to be nice.  i’m keeping my sarcastic comments to myself (mostly) and i’m doing my best to be a safe place for the people i love.  i don’t have to have tough skin.  i don’t want tough skin.  i don’t have to retort when people are mean.  i can just remember that i used to be that person.  And love them.  Hurt people hurt people.  i don’t have to hurt back.

That’s my rant for today.