"You are his parent; not his friend."
"Kids need their parents to be parents...not friends."
"She clearly needs a parent...not a mom/dad who tries to be her friend."
I hear those statements pretty regularly in our society and, quite frankly, they bewilder me.
My kids are definitely my friends. We spend time together. We make each other laugh. We do crazy and spontaneous things that produce marvelous memories. We share good times and sad times. Sometimes we drive each other crazy, but - in reality - we never tire of each other.
Yes. Indeed. These two girls of mine are my friends. Aside from Tim, actually, you might even say that they are my best friends.
Does that mean that I am not a parent - that I fail to protect, guide, instruct, and teach my children? Not at all! I strive to do all of those things, using my age and experience to help them understand the world around them - to show them through modeling + conversation how to love God and love others.
But I refuse to live under the faulty presumption that I must EITHER be a parent or a friend to my children. I choose to be both. Now - and in the future.
After all, I won't always be the only adult around here. One day, I will be 40 and they will be teenagers. I will be 50 and they will be having kids and careers. Etc. When those milestones come, I want to still be friends. Sharing cares and triumphs. Being taught by each other.
That kind of relationship doesn't just "happen." It starts today...right now...in the every day ways we relate to each other.