One parent tells how she is not only a parent to her children, but also most definitely their friend.
While many parents do not think it’s possible to be both parent and friend to their children, others think it’s essential. This week on Reddit, one mum commented on how she definitely sees herself as her children’s friend:
“I see a lot of comments along the line of ‘parents are ruining their kids by being their friend’ And I feel this is total bullshit,” she says. “I love my kids. I parent my kids, I guide my kids. I’m firm with them when they push society or health/safety boundaries.
“I also want to be there when they need a shoulder, a playmate, a sounding board. Imho [in my humble opinion] a parent should always be a child’s FIRST friend, a friend who is always there for them, but also willing to tell them straight,” she says. “And to be honest, I feel sorry for children of ‘not friends’ parents. I’m still super close with my mum and trust her like few in the world. She has put me straight many times and I’m grateful.”
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First and foremost parents
While it’s true that we want our children to come to us in times of need and feel comfortable to open up to us, is this the same as being friends?
Another parent, who feels there is a difference added to the discussion. “I am always there for my children in the same ways you describe being there for your own – but I am their parent, not their friend. Period,” she says. “I think often when people say that you shouldn’t be friends with your kids, they mean that your kids aren’t always going to like you or be happy with the decisions you make in parenting them. It isn’t your job to make sure your children are happy at all times.”
A fine line
Others feel that when parents are ‘friends’ with their children, this can mean fewer boundaries are being set and fewer expectations being met. While one parent agrees with the notion of friendship, she adds, “I do think that the typical ‘friend parents’ don’t do what you describe. They do let their child get away with murder cause they hate the idea of their child disliking them and that’s irresponsible.”
Another parent agrees: “I feel like there is a fine line between parenting and friendship, but I also feel that if done right, they can be mutually exclusive. I want my child to trust me enough to come to me with any issue, big or small but I also want my child to be aware of the expectations I have.”
A mix of both
It’s definitely an interesting topic and one that reveals strong and differing ideas on what it means to be a parent. For me, I’m somewhere in the middle. I’m very good friends with my parents and I hope that my children will feel the same way about me. However, I do believe parenting is not quite the same as being a friend. As a parent, you need to completely care for your child, teach them right from wrong and insist that veggies must be eaten. Jobs that go beyond the role of friendship. And as a parent, children do not always like what you have to say. A friend might be more subtle. But at the end of the day, if I do my duty as a parent, and my kids still choose me above all others as a trusted friend, then I believe, without doubt, that I’m one of the lucky ones.