YOU are Your Child’s First Friend
If I have heard one phraese over and over that I’d like to erase from our culture it this, “I am not my child’s friend, I AM the parent.” I couldn’t disagree more with this statement. It implies that parenting and friendship are mutually exclusive. When your child is first learning to walk and talk, is it not the parent they share their first laugh with, tell a joke to and confide in when something good or bad has happened to them? I don’t understand this sentiment of letting you child know you aren’t their friend. Not suprisingly, later on the parent is frustrasted that their child doesn’t share details of their life with them. As adults we don’t share our thoughts and feelings with people who aren’t our friends, we keep them at bay telling them only minor details of our lives so why would we expect anyting different form our children?
We are guiding these spirits for a short period of time in their lives, and approaching this sacred time as someone your child can confide in and trust builds a sense of connection with them. I grew up with many children’s whose parents had the same my child isn’t my friend ideologyand now the relationship is strained or they don’t speak with them at all. When we approach parenting from an authoritative perspective our children will be fearful of sharing their hearts with us. Think of someone you view as an authority figure in your own life today,it can be your boss, your own parents or someone in an authority role in society can you honestly say you feel vulnerable witht that person? When you are going through life’s many twists and turns, do you think let me run straight to them or do you turn to someone you feel listens to you, understands what you are going through and wants you to succeed in life.
Parents, envision the relationship you seek to have with your children as adults and then nurture the path where you and your children remail connected. Take the time and make the investment to parent from your whole heart, not through your constant changing emotions.
As with any relationship, your bond with your child needs to be nurtured. It begins when they are babies, consciously learning them and who they are becoming. You aren’t just their parent but another evolving human on your own journey, show them this side of you as well. It begins by making eye contact with your child and acknowledging their presence when you interact with them. In being your child’s first friend you show them what to expect in relationships, how it feels when someone shows you kindness, you model what trust looks and feels like. Modeling the behavior of a friend makes it that much easier for them to learn from you through your constant interatactions.
One way I show my son that we are friends is by listening to him without judgement. He tells me about his day and though some times it is cringeworthy I have to take a step back and look at the situation. When I feel myself putting on the old judgement cap, I sift through what is being said take a breath and carry on. I make a point to share with him stories from my childhood where I made a mistake or learned something. For example when I wanted to teach him about being honest, I didn’t say just be honest and tell the the truth. I wove truth into the fabric of my story. I told him when I was in kindergarten I learned the importance of honesty. When he hears stories from my childhood, he is able to see me in a new way. I have heard other parents say they don’t tell their children anything so their children can’t use it againist them. Let me ask you a question? Why are we always ready to put on this perfect persona? No one learns anything from being perfect we learn through our failures and mistakes. Sharing your life and some of its hiccups with them let’s them know that you got through something so maybe they are strong enought to get through it to, afterall they have their greatest friend and ally there with them, you.