How to be best friends with your children and drawbacks to that approach.
At 3 years old he came home from preschool with a new phrase.
The independent contractor
Are you an employee or an independent contractor? You can be both at the same time. Independent contractors do not have a boss. They just do what needs to be done in order to accomplish some goal and get paid for it. Employees have bosses and must do as they are told. So let us put this another way, are your children independent contractors or your employees?
Many people in this day and age have work that is employment based but need more income and so have work as independent contractors. Many a small business owner has to at some point get a job to keep their business going during slow times or start up times.
So what do you consider your children to be to you?
Does it have to be a one way or the other proposition?
We must also ask and look at whether or not it can change.
(but first it must be clear here, the role of best friend just cannot be one of a child caretaker of a dysfunctional adult. This would be best described as a sick relationship at least until the child is a middle aged adult)
It can be both! And that is awesome news. A man is mostly an independent contractor if a craft or trade or profession. From time to time he may have work that is covered by an actual employment. He must know the difference and it could even be the same client/employer. Unless it is a husband and wife partnership the wife has no authority here. If times get tough and the wife becomes overbearing and acts like the boss of that man, there is trouble afoot and I have seen that many times. An independent contractor cannot have a boss and especially not one trained and practicing that type of work day to day.
So you see this man has many roles with many people and with some dual roles and with others strictly single roles and those may be the same. Around here wife is the boss of the home and lover to her spouse, and in fact best friend of a man who is also an independent contractor and also employee and one client is the same.
That may sound complicated but we do it with boundaries and compartmentalization and the man is not schizophrenic normally.
Obviously the roles change from time to time depending on work to be done, decisions to be made and what we call the default scenario.
So now let us get to child parent relationship. And my favorite the "love connection".
"You know I love you" and act like it, is the first rule.
Are you BFF's with your child?
Do you have a dual relationship with your child or children?
Each relationship is different.
I knew a man once that had been married 18 years and he just could not look at his wife without lusting. Probably pretty cool. But he would not have spoken to me about it if their were not issues that it was causing. We redirected some of that passion to friendship and we adjusted some of the wife's behavior to be more lovingly critical of the man. Well now it is about 36 years of marriage and she still just turns him on but he also has a best friend.
A four year old boy will often have his mommy as the bestest best friend. Around 7 it can cause issues in developing other healthy relationships. But it does not need to end. It just needs some tweaking.
You see being the best friend of a child can cause great resentment at around 10 years old when what we call the "justice" factor comes into play. Around ten a child knows what they want and can justify it both to himself and to others. When the reason for denying that want is just a fiat or one of those "because I said so", then that bond of friendship is tortured. And the effort involved to explain and smooth out the reasons is painstaking and most parents with a ten year old are just too damned busy --- hey and so are ten year olds', a resentment seems to take less time than trying to understand. (how wrong that is)
Ten years later are we still best friends?
We just have to work at it like any best friend relationship.
We have a great phrase around here. "if we did not care then we would not care would we?"
The one on our left and I have a friendship based on bringing each other new cool ideas. The one on the right and I are best hiking buddies and we both have degrees in Philosophy so we bond in a strange way with questions about "what is". The eldest and I are best friends who give each other advice on stuff we do not want to hear. We are brutally honest with each other. Hey I know I need it and she is admitting that she does also.
Sometimes we admit we are not feeling the love baby. And other times we just love each other to death. With the eldest, I became best friend very early because by kindergarten I could not keep up. The boy and I clashed a whole bunch when he was a teen and I was a midlife crisis idiot. The youngest was afraid of me for a few years while she was planting her feet. Now I am afraid of her, but I have other friends like that.
We only use my gaggle of ducks as an example about different we can all be in one family.
There is just no issue that these two are best friends.
Two people stranded on a desert island.
Would they be best friends we ask. And the answer would be the obvious; That just depends. Some dad's have children that are just so different from them that there is no commonality to build a friend relationship. Hey get over it. You are still father and child and relish that and promote that.
I just watched as three 25 to 30 year old men picked up their children from preschool. I was telling the story of Great Grandpa Bunny Bunny and these guys burst into the play yard and each one immediately established dominance over their child. Personally I could smell the testosterone discharge. Their vehicles still hot from the freeway (trucks of course to a one) Well the only way to overcome that natural primate pecking order is to overcome the need to be Mr. Alpha dog with children. And probably these guys are working a 7am to 330 pm under the heavy yolk of a production foreman.Almost a resentment that they work for a living and their children are a release from the yolk but they only get that release via a yolk on their children,
These men have best friends that are beer drinking buddies. They do not have best friends that are wives and children. Around these Spanglish part we call it falso machismo. (no that is not in dictionaries it is Spanglish)
Climb off that mountain and live.
The Bottom line.
I have a live in nephew that really distracts me because he does not earn his own keep. He has a masters in business but is one of those that cannot find a job. (highly suspect at McDonalds) It is just an irritant to me. But his culture is different than mine and I have to adjust for he can try but is not able. I love him and we are best friends for sure because we try and we love each other. I hate it that he does not work and is supported at this late date by parents. But he is good with my son and they have laughter and a kind of brotherly love that warms my heart.
So it is not a deal we chose it is a deal of in our hearts. And that is so cool.
We are BFF's and do not even try to interfere.
So sometimes we are not given to chose our BFF sometimes God gives them to us and that is sujper cool of God.