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How to be best friends with your children and drawbacks to that approach.

Updated on February 19, 2014

At 3 years old he came home from preschool with a new phrase.

"You are not the boss of me"
"You are not the boss of me" | Source

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?

See results

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?

Yes we are.
Yes we are. | Source

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.

This mom is not a disciplinarian. Her role as mother is about food, hugs and health.Education, discipline and exercise are not part of her mommy skills.
This mom is not a disciplinarian. Her role as mother is about food, hugs and health.Education, discipline and exercise are not part of her mommy skills. | Source

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.

First die to your ego.
First die to your ego. | Source

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.


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    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      We can do it. Clearly you put a lot of effort into it. And I am sure it is worth it.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 4 years ago from USA

      My daughters are in their 30's and to this day, I consider them to be a couple of my best friends. They call me every day and we chit chat. We tweet each other often throughout the day. I love it! But at the same time, I'm still "Mommy" when they need comforting, and I'm still "Mother" when they need direction.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you ChitrangadaSharon, it does indeed require that hard work.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 4 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Very practical and valid thoughts as regards parents and children relationship. This is something, which should be nurtured with lot of care, affection and rationality.

      I believe if this relationship has a strong foundation, it will last forever. That includes sometimes being strict with them to discipline them and not always give in.

      Nice and thought provoking hub!

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Hi Grand old Lady, I hope you and yours prosper just like mine though money be tight we look for the good.

      I run on a principle. If you know me --- then I owe you. It works and it makes life wonderfully spicy.

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 4 years ago from Philippines

      I love how you fully threshed out all the different elements of this topic. Most especially, I love the ending when you talk about your nephew. Few people are as accepting as you are, but acceptance is a fantastic foundation for genuine friendship, whether it's with your children or your nephew or anyone else. Voted up.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      DDE hopefully children come to accept gracefully their parent's imperfections.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Dora, example example example is truly how we teach. Thanks.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Parents show their children the best and the worst your hub is so true.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Ultimately, the parents who are responsible for the type of relationship we have with our children. No matter how successful we are in other areas of our lives, this relationship matters the most. Thank you for your insights.