A few weeks there was a festival in Colorado called 4/20. I am pretty sure that anyone that watches the news is aware of what it is, and though it disgusts me, it is the state we live in. A few days later I watched a disturbing video that has been nagging me for some time now. The video was of a parent and their kid at attendance of the festival. The parent was on stage pouring drinks down people’s throats and obviously high, drunk etc. The part that disturbs me most is the kid (of age now) is a recovering meth addict. I am no one’s judge for we all have only one and will meet him eventually, but my question is why? Do you feel being buddies with your kid in this fashion is the key? Do you believe that if you are friends and they see you are “cool” that it fulfills something in your life? I can’t answer any of these and sit in bewilderment that a parent would act in such a way. Not only because the kid is a recovering drug addict but the behavior seems wrong as an adult/parent.
I know every blogger/ writer has written at some point a piece titled “I am your parent, not your friend”. How true is this statement? Can we be our children’s friend? I say yes but not in the same context or manner as their friends in school etc. I will be a guide, a mentor, a teacher, an authoritative figure and someone he can lean on and always get the truth from. His friends will not be those things always and that is what differentiates.
It is my job to raise a grown adult not a grown child.
Being an older mama I have witnessed many parenting styles and believe I am fortunate to take pieces of them all to find balance. I play with Cooper and we do things but am I his friend? When he is a teenager and has to make tough decisions, is being his friend what will make him feel that he can talk to me? My husband had/has the ability to talk to his mom about anything and I mean anything. She is a great mama and I asked her how she developed that type of relationship with her son. Her answer was as follows:
I started from the very beginning being their safe place to fall. Kids are going to mess up and do some stupid things. But, they must know your love is unconditional – no matter what. There will be many times they’ll have to be disciplined, but always with an understanding heart and letting them know they have your love no matter what they do. Every child needs a sanctuary and it should be their parents. I tried to always let them know they could trust me with anything and I wouldn’t judge or shame them. I tried to be very honest with them so they knew what my vision for their lives was. So, I guess that would be it – being their safety net, unconditional love, and honesty.
Parents will always be Mom’s and Dad’s to you, and you will always be their Son or Daughter. The friendship will be how they interact with you.
This is the type of relationship that I want to cultivate with Cooper. While he will know I am his mama and an authority figure, he can also talk to me about anything and nothing is off limits. That does not mean that I will sit around and drink with him etc.
This goes for his aunts, uncles, cousins extended family. You are not “cool” by sitting around and condoning and participating in these behaviors. What you are is an idiot and nothing more than that.
He will know that there are rules and consequences for breaking those rules. I want him to look back at his childhood and say my parents were parents to me. They helped mold me into the man I have become. If he says that we were his friends as well, then it is a bonus.