Parent or Friend?

Marylea - posted on 02/17/2011 ( 30 moms have responded )

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I hear a lot parents say that they aren't their child's friend but rather their parent and will act as such. I've also known parents who take the opposite approach and try so hard to be their kids friend that they are afraid to be a parent. I'm wondering where you stand, are you a parent or a friend? Both?

My personal opinion is that you need to be a balance of both. If you want your child to respect you and your wishes then you need be their friend. That's my take anyway.

Marylea~

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I am a parent first and a friend second. My friends are around my own age and I will not try to be something I am not. However, I will be there for my kids whenever they need me. All of them have come to me whenever they needed me, my advice, or just an ear. I am not judgmental of their actions most of the time but I don't have a problem being a parent either. If I had to "balance" it out on paper then, while my kids are kids, I am 75% parent and 25% friend. Once they are adults I can reverse that percentage.

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~♥Little Miss - posted on 02/18/2011

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I feel that I have a good balance of both. I need to be a parent to teach him how to be all he can in society, but I also feel I need to be a friend so he feels he can confide in me. There is a balance....sometimes it is hard...hell...parenting is hard period.

Danielle - posted on 02/18/2011

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I believe you need to be both. I want my kids to come to me about their problems without fear of being condemed for it. I say that b/c as a child I didn't have that. As a teenager I didn't have that. I was raped when I was 16 and didn't tell anyone b/c in my mind I would get in trouble. My mother didn't find out till a yr ago..I'm 27 now. When I became pregnant I went to my Aunt and told her. I was 19 and terrified to tell my parents. She talked me into calling them and when I did my mother hung up on me. It was horrible. I want my kids to know right from wrong and will teach them that but I dont' want them going somewhere else for answers to their problems..what if they're given the wrong advice? I do believe that being more of a friend than a parent can cause harm though. I've seen it. It has to be balanced.

JuLeah - posted on 02/18/2011

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A friend doesn't make you go to bed on time. A friend doesn't make you do thing you really don't want to, but need to for whatever reason.
Friends don't always respect your or your wishes.
You are their parent. You will do what you think is right for them (homework before video games) even if they get upset with you, call you a dumb dumb head, or say you are the worst parent that ever lived.
A friend of mine was 'unfriended' by her teen on fb and devestated by the event. Most teens I know unfriend their parent at least once a week.
You are in a position of power and authority over them, you can't be their friend any more then teachers can be friends with students or heads of the company can be friends with employees.
Friendly, yes. Respectful, yes, kind, yes, attentive, yes .... peers, no, friends, no, equals in terms of power, no

Sal - posted on 02/17/2011

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i think it is more important for you child to know you are always going to be in their corner rather than be freinds. The situation that has pushed this conversation with my son has shaped my opinion and that is he is a big boy (nearing 6ft) i don;t want to play water fights at the beach and be tackled by him (that was when he said i thought you were my friend) i don;t want to watch silly dvds, i never did watch the american pie, scary movie shit,( even when i was a teenager i thought they were lame ), i don;t have time to watch a movie i want let alone that shit, i don;t want to hear explicit rude jokes, i am after all a 37 yr old woman not a 16 yr old boy, they are the "friend " things i was talking about, we still have fun, still chat about stuff and he knows when he needs a mum i am there for him. if he needs a freind to go to the beach or skate park with or watch a shit dvd he has plenty of those.....but when he needs a mum i;m the only one that will do

Alyssa - posted on 02/17/2011

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I think part of the job title of "parent" is being their friend. The two are not separate.
You can't be a parent without a little 'friend" in there and vise versa.

Sal - posted on 02/17/2011

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i had this exact talk with some friends last week because i had had it with my 15 yr old, he said don;t i want to be his friend and i said i'm his mum not his friend, he can have a milion friends but only one mum, if he makes it to adulthood i'll be his freind then unil then it is my job to make sure he makes it that far, i love spending time with him, am so happy he can talk to me about personal things but i do draw the line at being talked to like i'm a teenager and not his mum, i know he swears, i know they tell rude jokes, talk about sex drugs and drinking but i don;t want to join in, if he has a question he can ask me in a mum/son way not a friend way.

Marylea - posted on 02/17/2011

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@Lisa: I totally agree with you. That's how I would define friend as well and I think its important to have that kind of relationship with your kids.

"I am their guide and protector yes, and also their friend. But I am not their dictator/authoritarian ruler." - Couldn't have put it better myself. I don't ever want to be a dictator to my daughter.

Nikkole - posted on 02/17/2011

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I agree there should be a balance of both until they reach adult hood then you can be more friends than parent.

Melissa - posted on 02/17/2011

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my mum and I are like great friends and I love it. She was just a parent when I was younger

[deleted account]

Parent now, so we can be great friends when she's an adult.

Of course, that doesn't mean we don't have fun together.

Melissa - posted on 02/17/2011

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I think both. I want my kids to be able to talk to me I hope we can have that kind of relationship as they grow up

Sharon - posted on 02/17/2011

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I'm the parent.

He can trust me to confide in me.

He can trust me that I've got his back at all times. I will love & support him through all things but he will take responsibility for his choices.

Define friend? Do we hang out? Not really. We have family movie night. We dinner together nearly every night. We cook together. We listen to music together.

Well, by "together" I mean as a family.

He will do as I say, when I say but because I love & respect him it will be in his best interest and I'll have good reasons for asking. He has responsibilities and he is expected to do them or face the consquences.

Charlie - posted on 02/17/2011

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Parent first , friend second you have to know when it is appropriate to act as either and when it isn't it is about balance .

Stifler's - posted on 02/17/2011

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I agree with Deanna's post, you have to be mostly parent and a little bit friend or they probably won't open up and trust you with their problems.

Minnie - posted on 02/17/2011

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See, I see the word 'buddy' and 'friend' differently. I agree- I am not my children's 'buddy'- their peer. But I do try to be their friend.



I see a friend as someone who loves you for who you are, who isn't afraid to tell you when you're being a butt, who likes to spend time with you, who shares interests with you, who is supportive and compassionate, who will cry and laugh with you, be there through thick and thin. I want to be those things to my children.



I am their guide and protector yes, and also their friend. But I am not their dictator/authoritarian ruler.

Jenn - posted on 02/17/2011

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I'm both. I'm a parent first and foremost, and there may be times where they don't like what I say - but what I say goes. However, we get along and have fun together as a friend would do.

Amie - posted on 02/17/2011

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I'll agree with Deanna too, mostly.
In most cases though that only goes on way... we are our kids friend but they are not our friends. While my children are always free to come to me and talk, look for advice, etc. I will never go to them, probably when they're adults I will. We'll see when that time comes.

Bonnie - posted on 02/17/2011

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I agree that there has to be a balance. They have to know I am their parent, I am in charge, and enforce the rules. On the other hand, it is important for my children to know that I am there for them as a friend as well; whether it is to talk, take part in activities together, etc.

IMO if you are only going to show you are their parent and there is no other side, where is the fun, the trust, and the easy going side of the relationship? I've seem some parents be strict, strict, strict all the time and yes, their children are really behaved, but it is almost like they are in a straight jacket.

Tara - posted on 02/17/2011

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Oh and my mom is my best friend, literally best friend now, but I'm 37 and she's 60. But no one makes me laugh harder at myself, no one makes me feel prouder to be with, no one is there for me like she is and no one has earned the title of best friend more than her.
:)

Tara - posted on 02/17/2011

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Wow, Deanna you hit that one dead on.
I am my 14 year old sons friend, I know this because he comes to when he has personal issues, or needs advice or just wants to come along for a drive to hang out with me. But I am his parent and he knows this because I enforce the rules, and because I am always there for him, friends will come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. But family will always be there.

Becky - posted on 02/17/2011

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Parent first, for sure. But I definitely play with my kids and goof around and get down on their level, like a friend would. And I hope that as they get older, I will be their confidante and they will feel that they can trust me. But I will always be the authority figure - until they are 18.

Katherine - posted on 02/17/2011

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I agree. You need to have a balance of both. How can you JUST be a parent? It seems you would never have fun with your child. Like in the old days or something.

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Parent. We can still have fun together and stuff like friends do, but it is my job to be their parent... not their friend.

Brittany - posted on 02/17/2011

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i know first hand you need a healthy balance. my step daughter's mom wanted to be her friend and not her parent and as a result we have had to reteach her to be friends with people her own age and not adults. and i have seen a friend have trouble with keepging control of her girls because for so long she has been their friend

Krista - posted on 02/17/2011

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And the hilarious thing is that the three of us all have very different parenting styles. But in the grand scheme of things, we do all still see that we need to be parents, not buddies, to our kids.

Neat.

Krista - posted on 02/17/2011

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Wow...Deanna just stated it pretty much perfectly. I agree with everything she just said.

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