- Family and Parenting
Can Children And Parents Really Be Friends?
Wrong Judging A Mother
In the attempt to convince me to have children rather earlier than later, someone once told me that I should have a child in order to have someone to attend to me in the old age and bring me a glass of water.
I was appalled to hear that and I do have to admit I judged that woman. I was thinking how can a mother say that and still pretend to love her children? I even asked her if this is why she had children, and I've told her that you should have them because you want them and love them so much, not because you want someone to take care of you when you won't be able to do so anymore.
She said I will understand as I will get older, and that she does love her children more than anything, but she also had this in mind when deciding to have them.
I had observed her through the years and she is more than a great mother. She loves her children so incredibly much and literally made a lot of sacrifices for them, giving up things for her just to see them happy. So, then I started thinking if she might be right? If we also have children not just because we love them, but also to leave something behind, a piece of us, and to have someone there for us when we get old.
Every parent does their best to create bonds with their children, to make the child trust them enough to seek them when in trouble, in need of some advice or just to tell the parents how their day-to-day life is going.
And when a parent succeeds this, then they can call themselves happy and relax a little, thinking that their child will always come to them instead of friends or instead of searching the Internet for advises from strangers.
But the real fact is that in order to create that bond and trust, you need to give something back. If you want them to be open and trusting, then you need to do the same. I believe this is the moment when everything can go downhill if you are not paying attention to what and how much you are sharing.
Be Careful What You Share
The parents of a friend of mine are in complete war. They don't want to be together anymore, but they also don't want to divorce either. This is affecting her tremendously especially because all she saw growing up were two parents that loved each other so much, they were always hugging and having nice words to say to each other, helping each other at everything, and now, it seems like all hell break loose.
She always had a bond with her mother, telling her about her love life, her interests, and so on, and this was the moment when their friendship turned into chaos.
The mother started telling her daughter about their marital problems, complaining all the time about everything the father did or said, about how she didn't feel safe with him anymore, and basically everything that was going on between them. On the other hand, the father was doing the same. They were both telling their children how unhappy and disgusted they were of one another.
The children, especially my friend, felt like they were going crazy. It wasn't enough that they had to see their parents transform into something else that they grew up with, they also had to hear all those horrible accusations. It was all a nightmare.
I was telling her why isn't she just telling her parents she can't hear these things anymore because they are eating her up alive. She told me that she can't do that because she tried it once with her mother and she said that she is her friend and that she doesn't know who else to turn to. She doesn't want to talk about these things with a stranger, but rather to her own children, which, again, they are her friends.
And this is just an example. I have a lot of other friends with divorced parents who are trying to win the children on their side while bad mouthing the other parent. They think they are being subtle, and maybe the child will like and favor them, but what they don't understand is that the child feels like running in the opposite direction every time the parents call or visit.
So, Can Children And Parents Really Be Friends?
I personally don't think they can be that type of friend who tell each other everything waiting for advice in any situation. Maybe not being that close friends is not such a bad thing.
Parents slip unto the other side so fast and without even realizing it, and this affects the child so unbelievable much. This is like an addiction. Thinking that you can control it and stop whenever you want to is just lying to yourself. Once you've started you won't be able to know where it will lead and how much damage you will do on the way, and especially not be able to stop it. Not until someone gets hurt anyway.
Maybe we need boundaries, just like in any relationship. We need to have things that shouldn't be shared, not by the child towards the parents, nor the other way around.
I used to think about my mother that she and my sister are my best friends. Now I still consider them my friends, I just have certain things I'm not talking to them about, and I've gotten to the conclusion that this is the best thing I could do.
It is a great idea to make a friend out of your child while he/she is growing up, especially when they are in their teen years and you have to make sure they won't come home carrying a baby or a fatal disease, but once they grow up I don't know if you can still have that.
I do have to admit though that most of the time the child bonds with the parent through their early years and again once they are all grown up, and rebel all through their teen years.
When the status of the parents doesn't change I think it is more than OK for them to be friends with their children, but once the parents start fighting, divorce or even feel like they don't belong together and decide to separate peacefully, I think the child should not be involved in their businesses.
When my friend's parents first started to fight they didn't tell her for over one year, but they did tell her older siblings. When she found out she felt hurt and like she didn't matter enough to let her know too of what was going on. As time passed and she saw how bad things were and how much were the parents fighting she changed her mind and admitted to me she wished she never knew anything about the war that was going on between her parents.
You know that saying "What you don't know can't hurt you"? I believe in some cases applies so well.
Maybe children and parents can be friends, but only in certain situations and always with boundaries.