One very important question I think every parent has to ask themselves at some point is, do you want to be your kids parent or their friend?
This is a difficult question to answer because of course you want to be a friend to your child but how do you differentiate between being a parent or a friend, and does the answer to this question change as your children get older?
Growing up my Dad was always a parent and even with him being a “parent” it didn’t weaken the relationship we had and if anything, now that I am older, it made it stronger. This is exactly what I want for Jace.
Our children, no matter what age they are, can find friends – even best friends – anywhere they go. They will make friends at daycare, school, the park, sports, events, and birthday parties, but they won’t be able to find a parent – their parent – anywhere. You can be a parent and a friend but finding that balance is very hard and, in my opinion, the balance changes depending on the age of your children and what they are needing at that specific time.
I will always be there for Jace to talk to, cry to, be excited to, tell secrets to, and I don’t want him to be afraid to tell me things. I want him to be open and honest with me and feel comfortable doing it. I will always, no matter what, be there physically and emotionally for him because I am his Mom and nothing will override him. However, at the same time I want Jace to be accountable for his own actions growing up, I want him to know there are rules and boundaries; I also want him to know its okay to fail at things in life but I also want to be there for him to teach him how to fix those things he may fail at.
Growing up, one time or another – especially in the teen years – the dreaded words would came out of my mouth saying “I hate you Dad!” because he wouldn’t let me do something or he would ground me for not listening – he was being a parent. The thing is our kids, at some point in their lives, are going to say they hate you, but I am not afraid of letting my child hate me. I think it all depends on what your child hates you for. If it is because you grounded your child, took a toy away from your child, or said no to your child – your child will get over it. Parenting is not always easy and even though I am sure it is not the greatest feeling hearing your child say they hate you, it also is part of parenting and like I said before – they will get over it – and in the short time that your child may say they hate you that usually means they have learned a lesson and probably won’t do that specific thing again that they hate you for.
For example, Jace today was playing with his toy hammer and pretending to fix things around the house. He knows not to go near the tv stand that has the tv on it, Xbox, etc. So he looks at my (with that little smirk, of course) and goes to hammer the tv stand right near the tv and after I tell him no he hammers the tv stand. After that the hammer got taken away and put up on the ledge. About an hour later he wanted the hammer so I said you can have the hammer back but you don’t be bad with it we don’t go near the tv. He was good for about five minutes with it then goes back to the tv stand, so the hammer was gone for the rest of the night. Its called rules, and its also called being a parent.
I don’t like seeing Jace cry, I don’t like seeing him upset, but I also wouldn’t like having a broken tv and he is not going to learn it is a bad thing to do without teaching him those boundaries. Setting boundaries and having rules is not a bad thing, it is not a mean thing, it is something that will shape how our children behave and react to things as they get older and are very important.
Having rules and setting boundaries for our children can still be done with being an open parent, being their for our children, without being a possessive overbearing parent. Doing these two things will teach our kids the right and wrong behaviors, how to react in certain situations, how to handle yourself in certain scenarios, and honestly will allow them to fail at things. Our children have to fail at things to learn. If you let your child do what ever they want, get away with everything, and turn a blind eye they won’t fail and they won’t learn – and most importantly they won’t learn it is okay to fail. There is no perfect child, there is no perfect parent, there is no perfect person, and our children have to learn that.
The thing is, you can be a parent and you can be a friend but you can’t be a friend and a parent at the same time. There will be times growing up when your children need you as a friend. They need an open ear, without judgment. When Jace gets older and starts being put in certain situations I want to be that open ear without judgment but in those times you also can’t try being a parent at the same time. You need to find an even balance and even when they may need a friend don’t be an enabler.
I can’t stand seeing parents bail their kids out of their own mistakes. Let your kids make mistakes, let them learn from their mistakes because that is what will leave the biggest impact for them and avoid them from making that same mistake twice. As parents we can guide our children from not making those mistakes, give them advice, let them know what we would do in certain situations, but let them make their own decisions. As hard as it may be – let them fail, and most importantly let them learn for themselves.
Parenting can be hard but finding that even balance between a parent and a friend is so important.
What are your opinions on the even balance between being a parent and/or a friend? I would love to hear your opinions so make sure you comment, send me a message through the “contact me” page, or check out my Instagram “adventuresofthegroots” and personal message me there. Make sure you share, share, share to all your Mama friends.
I am off to do some wedding planning with the soon to be hubby (47 more days to the wedding!). Stay tuned for some more struggles, chaos & fun from this Mediocre Mommy! ❤