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How to Raise a Best Friend Child

Updated on July 21, 2017

Well He Is More Than My Son

Just Who Is The Teacher?
Just Who Is The Teacher? | Source

Why Would You Not Want to Be Best Fiends With Your Child?

There is this rather too common incorrect assumption about both best friends and a child. A child is not a little toy soldier and a best friend can still be the one giving out or receiving direction and orders. People seem to think being in command invalidates a friendship. And likewise that a friendship invalidates a command.

I was just going back through my life on this issue and overwhelmingly in relationships that I would call best friends, very seldom were they co-equal co-workers. I am not really clear on the why of that but I am clear that it is true. And likewise I have some friendships going on over 50 years where at one time or another we were either the boss or the subordinate. It is also true that coaching and being coached created long lasting friendships that endure. And for sure the teacher student scenario is like this for me.

Yet here we are in this modern age where there is still the notion that parents cannot be both strong parents and best friends with their children of any age. Out of the six children my mom raised I think she was pretty much best friends with 3. Although I would in no way be counted there, we were really good friends. Even at a young age I just got the feeling she liked hanging out with me and I certainly with her. But boy let me tell you she ruled with one hell of an iron fist.

From about 20 on, my father and I were definitely best friends. Miles and distance made it hard but once cell phones and online stuff happened, for his final three years we for sure communicated for several hours every week. And before that there were many many letters.

This is not one of my sermons but let me just suggest that if you think of a “Father in Heaven” and do not consider Him to be a best friend, you should really look into that idea.

Something I just thought about that I have to think about – Maybe for my adult children, maybe they should have other best friends. But from my perspective they just plain are my best friends.

So that will now take us around to a hypothetical 7.5 year old, who is not hypothetical at all and his name is Gabriel and he is my youngest child by many years.

Me and You!

A Face That Only A Child Could Love ;-)

Life is Good With Friends and Family and They Just Might Be The Same.
Life is Good With Friends and Family and They Just Might Be The Same. | Source

May I Call You Friend?

So how does the all-powerful respect the lessor? And how can a mere subject respect the king? For make no mistake about it the core guiding principal in friendship is mutual respect. And of course the other essential ingredient as in so much of life is love. If I respect you and you respect me and we love each other it does not make for a friendship. Necessary yes, but without more it is not a friendship. Friendship requires a few more things. And the most important of these additions is not even trust. It is a pure joy in enjoying each other’s company. Common interests and/interests in common are good. And of course the aforementioned trust is really good.

Now I would really like some smart person to comment here and tell me why all these things cannot be present between a parent and their child. Do we dare start at the notion that fear is necessary? “My child respects me and follows my direction because he is afraid of me”? Maybe that is not that terrible of a thing. My best friends growing up mostly played the sports I played. And especially in football and wrestling there was a healthy fear between us. Maybe like in track and skiing it was just a fear of losing to the other. I tell you for sure in Basketball I was fearful of a few of my buddy’s elbows and in baseball getting hit by a high fastball caused fear. And of course Biblically fear of God is just accepted.

Here is a funny one with my Gabriel. And don’t you dare tell him about it. I am fearful of misdirecting him or causing him unnecessary emotional pain. Falling on your ass kind of pain I really do not care about for either of us.

So I think it good we have the above look at friendship and a bit about what it is. A note of possibly little consequence is that until I was 8 or so I was the youngest in the household. I mention 8 because that is about when Sophie died. Sophie was our dog who was even older than me. I was so far down the totem pole of family standing I even had to yield to Sophie. But including Sophie my brothers and sisters were way to the way my best friends. Even though they were charged with making sure I was safe as mom would kill them if they lead me astray they were my besties.

Thank You! Friend.

Hey If God Can Be Our Best Friend How Much More So Can Our Child Be Ours?

Make The Time

So that brings us to the actual raising of a child while being a best friend to that child. Look here, it is much easier with the less children you have. The time and devotion to the individual rather than a flock is just plain easier. I would reckon that it just takes a bit more work. Being a best friend means that you give of your time to the other. Being a parent means you give your time to the other. And quite literally I say to you that you cannot combine the time. It is different. Or is it?

Maybe with Gabriel we do some overlap. Reading for instance. We really enjoy reading together. There is so much out there to imagine and/or learn. Chess and one on one soccer are things that I suppose are part of a good parenting structure but we compete in them more for the fun. We really enjoy our rock collecting. I suppose good earth science stuff but we both really like it. I, to this day enjoy mathematics Gabriel likes to see if he can beat me. For sure that is just parenting and not being a friend, right?

Oops I better take back that line above that you cannot combine the two. Doing laundry can be kind of boring. Doing laundry together is social, goes quicker and maybe teaches something. So we are starting to share in chores. As I think of it, I would rather do a home project with one of my friends than go to a party.

Putting on the “ugly face and attitude” is unacceptable if it is done in order to get one’s way. We should never ever discount another’s feelings but we should not reward outward negative behavior. As a friend we need to be very honest with each other, sometimes somethings hurt. A friend does not shirk the responsibility to point out wrongs – the obligation is to spend the time to work things out once a wound has been opened, not to avoid the hurt. I cannot imagine telling my Gabriel to do something because I said so. That is so disrespectful and discounting. If I am too busy to explain my thoughts to my friend I am no friend. If I am too busy to explain my thoughts to my child I am no parent.

And as parents we say “but but but”. As friends we say “but but but”. Of course these are our excuses for not spending the time. It would seem that in the end being a friend and a parent really just takes more thought than being just one or the other.

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    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you North Wind, you say it so nicely. For some reason you made me think of my friendship with my wife. Yep, best friends.

    • North Wind profile image

      North Wind 2 months ago from The World (for now)

      I think that friendship is one of the most valuable things in this life and I always encourage deep friendship among siblings because I think that to be friends with someone who knows you the most makes for a very strong bond. Besides God, my two best friends are my mother and my sister. This friendship is a refuge for me. It is what home is.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 3 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Elena, what a wonderful notion you put forth. I think you are very right. You have got me wondering about having different kinds of friends. It is so important to allow for communication.

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 4 months ago from London, UK

      Very interesting to read. Some people do not agree with it but I do because it promotes a closer relationship with parents. A child can discuss anything at anytime. Those who don't like being friends with their child (even though they love their child) often have their kids turn to someone else, when they need to open up about something. Thanks

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 4 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Cynthia, one of my most favorite words is strange to most. "Father". My children call me that from time to time. I love God the Father, have some friends that we call "father" (lower case of course - priests) And my dad and I would often greet "Oh wonderful son how are you doing" ".... and how are you my best father".

      My youngest daughter once giggled "fathiend".

      But lest I ever forget I appreciate your comment and reminder that all of that love going around is only because of THE Father. What a friend we have in Jesus.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 4 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Lifegate/William - I hope that you have not minded me calling you Bill.

      I have a passed dad I was best friends with. 5 siblings and four children and a wife. Just doing the right thing by them kind of holds me up on other friends. Nice problem to have ;-)

      Thank you for coming by and leaving a note.

    • techygran profile image

      Cynthia 4 months ago from Vancouver Island, Canada

      Thanks for this article Eric-- it really speaks volumes about your love for your family and the love of God that undergirds that. Our older son chose his Dad as his Best Man when he married, which was rather unusual I thought, but over the years my husband has demonstrated how he has the rare ability to develop and sustain strong, loving relationships with his kids and grandkids, wife and siblings, as well as with individuals from inside and outside our church community. I believe you are cut from a similar bolt.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 4 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      My best friends have always been my family. I never really thought of it any differently. You gave us some wonderful thoughts here, Eric. Thank you!

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 4 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you Demas. Boy you said a whole article worth - and I will do it soon - when you mention "consistency". I think that is like way out there important.

      And the really hard part is to do it without forcing conformity for as we do they shall also.

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 4 months ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      Parenting may be an individual thing, and certainly parenting different children has to be. My son Bruce asked why I named him Bruce. I said "because I never knew a Bruce who did not become my friend, and I wanted a son who would also be my friend." He thought that was a fine reason. Good advice is this: "Give up friendships as slowly as you made them." Sometimes it can take until children have children of their own, for them to realize what a great parent you were. Hopefully it need not take that long. Other families can be, and at times are, happier. Normally we get just one, and create just one; love, patience, and consistency required.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 4 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you Dora what a fine observation. Lord hope for wonderful caregivers of adults as you were that there is a friendship at that stage. Truly in my case, my mom grew closest to me after I had nearly grown up around 30 or so.

      I am pondering about that best friend concept at different stages. Infant to puberty does raise many observations that I believe I will spend time thinking about and of course praying about. Thanks again.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 4 months ago from The Caribbean

      Notice though, Eric, that we do not begin to think of our children as best friends until they reach a certain age of maturity; not while they're still infantile. So parents who disagree on this may be thinking of the children in different stages or phases of their lives. We especially want them to be best friends when they become our guardians--and they'd have to be best friends before that.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 4 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you Linda. As I explored our notions of friendship it seemed to me, self evident that love is a component of friendship but one can love without being friends.

      Friendship is a little more pleasure oriented. Of perhaps joyful oriented.

      Someone said to the effect friends are the family you pick. I have concluded nothing here but believe it worthy of further inquiry.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 4 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Eric, I saw a post, on Facebook I think. I can't remember the exact words but it was something like "A friend is someone who knows all your faults and still likes you."

      I feel that I have that relationship with my two daughters. I've seen them stumble and fall, and boy they sure have witnessed me screwing up a time or two (or 100)...but I know they have my back, and I have theirs.

      It's just another way of saying "love", isn't it?

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 4 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Bill, sometimes I get caught up in life and forget that there is no greater purpose or calling than that of helping children.

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      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      My greatest accomplishment....all-time...is raising a quality man by myself. I have no idea how I did it, but he is my best friend and I'm proud of him. Great article!