• Olga Shchedrinskaya

Why the friendship between parents and children doesn't work?

Updated: Aug 12, 2020

Some parents believe that they should become best friends with their children.

Unfortunately, this approach has significant risk factors and potential pitfalls.

Let’s explore some of them.

a) Quite often, those who grew up in a family with distant, cold, or "hard" contact with their parents, will strive to build a reverse model of relationships as adults – with solicitude, sensitivity, minimum restrictions and attention to the child's desires.

Paradoxically, with this approach, children sometimes respond to this with “using” and demanding attitude towards adults, try to command everyone, and hardly give in or listen to the desires of others.

In fact, parents get an almost mirror image of the same model that they so wanted to leave.

b) Friendship is based on equality. In practice, it is very difficult to alternate the moments “we are on an equal footing with you” with situations when an adult needs to organize a child to do what he does not want to do (put away toys, wash his hair, do homework, brush teeth).

c) Why do you need someone bigger and stronger than you?

To lean on when in pain or scared. To get protection and support.

If the child begins to think that he (and not adults) is the one who can decide everything; or that he is "in charge" / "equal" – at this moment, the very opportunity to lean on or get support is partially lost.

d) A very simple and very difficult question that you can ask yourself: Why is it so important for me to be friends with my child? Why is the format of friendship important to me?

It so happens that if you very, very honestly answer this question, then the reasons may be that:

1) I often feel lonely, or in general I lack intimacy and warmth, and friendship with a child is a chance to make up for this;

2) I do not have enough support from my partner or other family members – and close contact with the child can compensate for this.

Often, these are not the only reasons.

Overall, the foundation of well-established relationship between parents and children is not based on friendship, but more on attachment, care, respect, and responsibilities.

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