Can You Be Your Child's Friend?

My mom and I were sitting and looking through some old pictures the other day and she commented, "Every time I see a picture of you and your boys, you just look like you are really enjoying being together."

I said, "We are. We're good friends."

And she said, "That's saying something."

It is saying something.  

Parenting is a very hard job. Kids don't come with a book, so a lot of what you learn about parenting comes from how you were parented, or from what well-meaning friends tell you, or from big fat mistakes you make along the way. (And please do not write me and tell me that they do come with a book . . . the Bible . . . because I have read the Bible cover to cover and no where in there does it tell me how to potty train without damaging their psyche!)

I often hear parents say that their goal is not to be their child's friend. I understand what they are saying, but honestly, my goal has always been to someday be my child's friend.  

I knew that someday, way down the road, my sons would cease to be children, crossing the threshold into adulthood, where they would no longer need to be parented, but where they would hopefully still look to me for advice, counsel, wisdom, in the manner they would look to a trusted friend.

Oh trust me, as they grew up, they NEVER doubted who was boss.  Cultivating a lifelong friendship never got in the way of being their parent. I never let good parenting be thwarted by the fear of losing their friendship. 

I was always mom first.

And today, I can honestly say that I genuinely enjoy the company of my sons. (Mostly. Except when they are together and gang up on me and make fun of dumb things I say or culturally relevant things I don't know.)

We are friends.  And for that I am grateful.

All that to say, though it may go against the grain, I posit that you can, indeed, be your child's friend.

A note to my readers:  In 2013, one of the big changes in my life is my new website, (don't bother going there, it's not live yet!)  It will be a conglomeration of several new projects I have in the works, and one of them is my new parenting blog and resourcing site!  


  1. My mom was really good at this transition, and I'm grateful for it. She respected us enough to let go and we have an excellent relationship because of it. Great message. This is also my goal down the road.

  2. Anxiously awaiting to see what the new blog!

  3. Carol - May your tribe richly increase for daring to say that the Bible is not a child-rearing manual. I HATE it when people refer to the Bible as "the owner's manual for life." As if we seek mastery of a machine through a sent of instructions and not relationship with a Person through a series of puzzling and intriguing stories!


Thank you for reading. I look forward to hearing from you.