When I was growing up, my mother was my best friend. She was there for me any time I needed her. I could tell her anything and would never feel judged or shamed. We had fun together. Taking trips to Disney World, scuba diving, and camping. I never felt like she was not my mother because she was my friend though. Just the opposite really. I have a better relationship with her due to us being friends. I love and respect her. It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows though. She knew when to use discipline and set me straight when I needed it. She was, and is, my parent and best friend. This is how I plan to parent my children as well. As a parent AND best friend.
Parent and Best Friend
So I am sure not everyone will agree with me here, and I am okay with that. I hear often, that we can’t be our children’s parent and best friend. That if we are their friend they will walk all over us and lead an undisciplined life. So in order to avoid this, we must only be their parent . Personally, I don’t see this to be true. As I mentioned before, my mother is and was my parent and best friend, and I think I turned out just great.
Now, I am not saying that we give into our children’s every whim to please them. We can’t be only their friend, but that can be a part of the puzzle.
The Parent Friend Line
When dealing with our relationships with our children, we must walk the line between parent and friend. It is possible to be a parent and friend, I have lived it, and it works. That line is there though which establishes that while yes, I am your friend, I am also your mother and I will discipline you when it is necessary.
Growing up I knew, that if I messed up, my mother would do what needed to be done. Proper punishment that I would learn from, which I now appreciate. I also knew though, that I could tell her anything without fear of shame or judgement.
One example is the time I lost my virginity. I will never forget sitting next to my mother the very next day and just telling her what happened. She never asked, I just told. When I was done, she did not judge, she did not shame, she simply asked if I had used protection. I told her of course, and then she just calmly asked if I wanted to get on birth control. Seriously, this was a conversation that will always stick with me. It is what I aspire to with my own children. I want them to feel comfortable coming to me with anything, no matter how difficult and trust that I will listen and respond with love.
I feel like there are a large number of misconceptions about parents who want to be both a parent and a friend. Many people think that we don’t discipline, we raise wild and disrespectful heathens, and that is simply not true. Now, for some parents who may be only a friend, this may be true, but not for those of us who build a healthy relationship and establish clear boundaries.
I discipline my children. They aren’t going to walk on me or anyone and they won’t be disrespectful. I am by no means a perfect mother, but I try my best to raise good kids with good hearts. It is very important to me that they have good healthy discipline and boundaries, but that they don’t fear me or their father.
Parenting isn’t just about teaching and being strict and serious. It is also about having fun, creating memories, and spreading love and light.
Be Friends With Your Kids
Like I keep saying, this isn’t about lack of discipline, it is about an excess of love. If you can be friends with your children when they are young, then you will maintain that relationship when they are adults. They will always be able to rely on you, trust you, and not fear you.
One of my favorite things to do is to just spend time playing with my kids. Having conversations with my daughter, and ensuring her that she can tell me anything and I won’t get angry or upset. Even at 4 years old, she knows that I will sit with her and try to work out issues with her.
Being friends with my children has been a blessing for me. It was a blessing to be friends with my mom as a child and is something I am carrying on as an adult. We vacation, we laugh, we talk, and I want this to continue on into their pre-teen, teenage, and adult years.
So yes, I am raising children, but one day these children will be adults. They will do things that I am sure I won’t approve of, but I want them to be able to tell me, to call me, to ask me for help. I feel like being enough of a friend to them growing up will allow them to have that level of comfort and not think twice about calling me if they need help
So now I want to know. What are your opinions on being your children’s friends? Should we be their friends, should we just parent? We all parent differently, and I love seeing all of the differing opinions because I think we can all learn from each other.