I’m in my 50’s and I am aware it may be a generational thing as I hear it an awful lot from younger parents – and I appreciate that I may well be a bit of a ‘Dinosaur’, but never the less I can’t stop myself from wincing internally every time I hear a parent describe their child as ‘my best friend’ or vice versa.
I understand that it is often just terminology and not literal, but regardless for me there are such clear distinctions between being a parent and a friend that even casually blurring the lines feels wrong.
Personally I feel that getting on with your child, having a wonderfully close relationship, sharing certain interests, being able to open up and share your feelings with them and encourage them to share theirs with you is not friendship – it is just good parenting.
So it is somewhat ironic that I quite regularly hear my 8 year old son declare that my partner is ‘not my friend anymore ‘ when he is angry or upset with him.
It usually follows a reprimanding of said son and no doubt my partner having raised his voice – which our son always struggles to cope with as he immediately perceives it as a sign that the security he has with us is under threat.
He is comfortable using the word ‘love’ and he declares his love for us daily – as of course we do to him – and I know for sure that he sees us as his parents , yet I question if he truly feels it 100% and understands yet that it is forever.
And maybe that is where the idea of a ‘friendship’ with us comes from, I guess it’s easier for him to relate to the word ‘friend’ and to see his relationship with us as such – even though we have never suggested anything of the sort.
I think that even with the constant assurance of our love he is confused by our anger when it arises and he sees it as being decidedly ‘unfriendly’.
I’ll let it go – for now – and as he grows and settles more and more I will hope that it will slowly disappear. If not and he continues to see us as friends then I’ll accept that and even consider it to be an achievement under the circumstances. However, rest assured he will never hear me using it in return.