As a mother I have always heard that we should be our teenagers parent and not their friend. I’ve never really completely understood that. The opposite of friend is enemy. I surely don’t want to be their enemy. So I have worked hard to cultivate a genuine friendship with each of my children. It just seems natural to me that the best way to parent is to do so from the standpoint as a friend. So I can’t say that I agree with the view that you shouldn’t be your child’s friend. If that makes me a bad parent then I’ll just have to pay my dues to that club.
Since we hit the teenage years and I have gotten past the shock of the vast difference in parenting style I have made it a point to try to be my kids’ friend. They key is to learn how to merge both parent and friend. As a friend I gain the closeness necessary to stay in their circle so that I am available to them for anything and everything. When the parent in me needs to step in I feel like there is more of an open door of dialog so that we can talk calmly and rationally about the situation with respect on both sides. Sure there are times that I want to say “do this because I said so”. However, that rarely goes over well. They deserve the time it takes to sit down together and discuss the “ifs, ands, buts, whys” of whatever the topic of discussion is. I find that disciplining them in a respectful way from the position of parent/friend not only helps them to feel respected but also teaches them how to treat others as well.
So that is why I consider my children not ONLY my children but also my friends. We have fun together. We laugh a lot. We pick on one another. We like spending time together. We have spent 16 & 17 years cultivating not only a parent/child relationship but a parent/child friendship as well. Finding the line where one starts and the other ends can be challenging and the journey isn’t always easy but once you figure it out it is so rewarding.
Please, meet two of my best friends:
I have a billion more pictures of me having fun with my children. Baseball games, hiking, shopping, laying out – all activities that friends do! Activities that I do with my children because we are friends!