Parents also friends? Recently I have been asking myself this question as I am very close with my kids. I have read several articles about how it’s not okay to be your child’s friend in order to maintain proper authority over your children. If we coddle our children and consider them our friends, then we must not be doing our job as parents, right?
This mentality comes from the aftermath of a generation of self-involved, spoiled, and entitled young adults known as Millennials. This generation has a bad reputation, though to be fair, so did my generation. Generation X was otherwise known as the slacker generation so I don’t hold much stock in reputations. Anyway, we are still raising some of that generation. My oldest is a part of generation Y. He is none of the above things his generation is known for.
I keep seeing articles titled, “I am not your friend!” While reading the article I can see that the mom loves her children but she comes off as being somewhat of an overbearing person. I don’t believe that is the case but it got me to thinking. What does friend mean in the context of parenthood? Well, let’s start with the basic definition of what the term friend means. I looked this up and didn’t expect what I read:
Isn’t that interesting? Who woulda thought? It’s a bond. Now we each have our own definition of what a friend is and what kind of friendships we want in our lives. Typically, most of us define friends as someone NOT related to us who we have mutual affection for and a bond with. But these definitions include family. When we think of family though, we think of our siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles. We don’t think of our parents or children as friends.
Then I thought, well, what goes into a friendship? Friendship is more than just a bond. In order for that bond to even occur, you have to be there for one another. A friend is someone who listens to you. A friend laughs with you, argues with you, cries with you. Hmmm… I do all of those things with my kids.
Being a Mother First.
I always tell my boys that I am their mother first. I will always be their mother before anything else. They are well aware that I will put my parenting above everything and anything. It’s just that important to me that I raise kind but strong men. I am not a strict mother by any stretch.
I have very few rules. I am not a stickler for doing chores because I don’t ask them to do what I, myself, am not willing (or just too lazy-I mean, tired to do). There are three major rules that I have though that are of the utmost importance for them in life.
Don’t talk back! Now of course, growing up, kids are going to do this. It’s part of the process of childhood. Pushing boundaries is a way of life for kids. I also encourage my boys to have their own opinions and to speak their minds. However, talking back is disrespectful and that is something I DO NOT tolerate in my house.
When I ask you to do something, do it! This is another one that kids will argue about. They’re kids. If you’re a parent and you expect your kids to not moan and whine when they are asked to clean their room or brush their teeth, you’re in for a rude awakening. In their minds they have better things to do like play Minecraft or watch cartoons. That doesn’t mean I won’t get on their asses about it though. Again, it’s about respect.
Which leads to me to…
Never Disrespect Me! I DO NOT, under ANY circumstances, tolerate disrespect (notice the theme here?). For most parents, this probably goes without saying. For me, it goes much deeper than that. I was never treated with any respect growing up. Because of that I will respect my children. I respect their privacy and their opinions, even if I disagree with them. Most important, I respect their feelings and their boundaries. In return though, I expect them to show me the same respect.
Because of these three golden rules I am raising two pretty great kids. I’m not a strict parent but I’m no pushover either and they know it. I allow them to be who they are. And you know what? Because of that, I have learned so much from them. I have learned to see the world through their eyes and boy is it amazing!
What about you? Do you agree or disagree with parents being friends.
Thanks so much for reading!
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