One of the pages I follow on Facebook recently posted a question asking if you could be both a friend and a parent to your child. A lot of people responded. Most saying no, you could not be both.
I certainly agree that being a parent is more important than being a friend to your child. That should always take top priority. But I think there needs to be a combination of both in order to have the most successful parenting effect you can.
Now, obviously, have a child that is only 4 years old at this point, I am shooting from theory alone here. I have no personal experience to back up this theory. I may find that this theory is total baloney over time. It wouldn’t be the first time nor probably the last time.
But, in my theory I do feel that there is an importance in trying to be a friend to them as well as a parent. I think in order to have a very close relationship in which the child feels free and open to talk about the important topics they are going to face growing up, they have to feel that you are not just a parent, but also a friend.
A parent is there to set limits and rules, enforce those limits and rules. There to make sure that the child eats their vegetables, gets enough sleep, wears the appropriate clothes, etc. They are there to make sure the child does the things that need to be done to mold that child into a productive and respectful adult.
That has to take top priority. But in order to have that full relationship where the child can feel free and open to talk about anything and everything, I think there has to be times where the child can feel like they have a friend in you as well.
A friend is there to laugh, talk, and generally have fun without feeling like they are in danger of crossing a line and breaking a rule. Being a friend means spending time together doing whatever the two of you have in common. Shopping, playing sports, going to the movies, etc.
Being a parent alone without the friendship side of things is going to cause the child to not feel as open to talking about difficult situations they may come across as they become older and start moving into different stages of life. The first boyfriend, the first heartbreak, the kids who they might be having a hard time dealing with.
The times they made a mistake and want to know how to correct it. If you strictly come across as a parent only, they may fear that telling you about a mistake they have made will only cause them to be reprimanded. If you have that friendship relationship as well, then they will possibly feel they are able to come to you for that advice.
As a parent, I want my child to always feel like she can talk to her parents about all issues as she comes across them in life. Somethings obviously will be more of a mom thing, and that’s fine. But whether she talks to me, mom, or both of us I just want her to feel like she can come to us and talk about anything.
So, what do you experienced parents think? Am I totally off base here?