It’s great to be friends with your adult children, but never forget (because they won’t) that somewhere in their psyche you will always be the parent and they the child, no matter how great the friendship. Don’t be critical unless asked. Don’t correct them about anything. Stay neutral as much as possible on issues that may cause arguments. I know there are exceptions to this, but if in doubt, stay out of it.
Adulthood was when I really got to see my mother for the person she was and not my mother. I can honestly say I am friends with my mom and still come to her when I need her as my mother. I think its a great thing if you can be friends with your adult children. Isn’t great when you have someone you trust completely and unconditionally to talk to about anything? I am hoping that I can be my children’s friend when they grow up as well so they can come to me with anything they are having a problem with.
My kids are my friends. BUT they will always be my kids, and I will always be their Mom. They will always come to me with problems and questions, looking for wisdom and advice, and I will always dispense wisdom and advice whether they want me to or not!
It was cool. I spent all of last Saturday with my son, hanging out at his house. We talked about raising kids (he has a 6 month old baby.) I was sooo impressed with his views on it. So impressed. And we shared and traded thoughts. I talked about giving kids choices, like, “Do you want oatmeal or Cheerios for breakfast.” And “You know, you can either go clean up your room, or you can sit in the hall until you’re done crying and THEN you can go clean up your room. It’s your choice.” :) We had a really nice time.
My children are closer than friends but there are still things I would say to a friend that I wouldn’t say to my grown up children. Occasionally I forget how old they are and they seem like children again. It’s a slightly confused relationship. Some of the joy comes from knowing they have their own lives of which I am not a part.
True @flutherother. But, on the other hand, there are things that I can say to my kids now that I never could before. I was at a cook out with my kids. I was tending the hotdogs on the grill. My daughter and her boyfriend were with me. At one point my daughter was teasing her boyfriend and called him a “Va J J.”
I said, “Isn’t that ‘vagina’ Why would you call him that?!” And we laughed.
Then the discussion turned to children’s impressions of their parents. As I was absently fiddling with the food I mentioned that as far as children are concerned their parent’ NEVER have sex. My daughter’s boyfriend started chuckling. Then I said, “And mothers certainly don’t have va J J’s! NO PENIS for the fathers.” He hit the floor about then!
As my children approach adulthood (the oldest will be 18 in two weeks), our relationships are turning more and more toward adult friendship. There are still a lot of mother/daughter moments, too, don’t get me wrong… but I can envision a time when the mother/daughter relationship is the background and the friendship is more in the foreground. My husband’s adult sons are friends of ours, and we all enjoy that relationship. I’d much rather have our kids around because they like us, than out of a sense of familial duty, you know?
My mother and I are best friends, but she’s also still my mom. You have to decide what the situation calls for, I guess. Sometimes I call her for motherly advice, and sometimes I call her just to shoot the shit and gossip. Sometimes we also call each other to rant about certain situations and comfort each other as only friends can.
I hope I have the same relationship with my kids when they’re adults!
Yes for being friends. If you have to keep parenting an adult did you miss doing something to help them grow up? I have a coworker who is still parenting (controlling) her 3 adult sons. She just can’t let go.
First, one must define “friend”—there is a difference between being a buddy or pal as opposed to a true friend. A real friend tells you the truth, even when it’s not what you want to hear. But most of the parents I’ve seen have tried to take the angle of being someone to hang out with, and don’t want to do the uncomfortable work being honest with themselves or their children.
When my son was 14, I wrote him a letter to tell him that I knew that he would be making his own decisions from that point on, since I did what I wanted to from about that age myself, and that I would no longer be trying to control him via disciplinary tactics, but rather, I would be there to guide him as someone who loves him unconditionally, and has been through much of what he would have to face. I also let him know that he would have to be the one to deal with the consequences of his decisions, and that I was doing this because I had faith in the parenting I had provided up to that point and that I saw that he had learned to be a fairly responsible kid and an independent thinker.
He is now 21. He’s made some poor decisions and some good ones. Through these past several years, we’ve become closer than ever. When he was 16 or 17, he said that I was his best friend, because he could tell me anything—that’s the relationship I wanted and am proud to have. I’m not gonna hang out and party with him, but we do spend time together and he still comes to me for advice, because he know I won’t be judgemental or belittle him. Although he has heard me say, “I know your mother raised you better than that!” on several occasions.
Throughout my childhood, teenage years and now my mum has always made sure that she was the cool, “friend mum”. In all honesty, I wish she had focused more on being my mum and not my friend. Even now, as an adult, I think my mum tries to be too pally with me. Sometimes, I want to be able to go to her for advise and her not to just tell me what she thinks I want to hear, for example, but she is often so worried that she won’t appear cool and down to earth in my eyes that she doesn’t give me the advise I need.
@Leanne1986 – That’s what I was referring to, and it is sad. Maybe your mother needs to hear that from you. Now you’ve got a bunch of Fluther-mothers! Feel free to ask here, if you’re not able to redefine your relationship with your mother.
@hearkat Right…I don’t party with my kids, either! @Leanne1986 I’m sorry about that. Don’t know why some parents do that. My kids can’t tell you how often they heard from me, “Hey! I don’t care if you don’t like it. I wasn’t put on this earth to make you happy!”
I’ve told you guys how, in high school, in the 70’s we had a court yard and we were allowed to smoke in there. The catch was, we were supposed to have a card signed by our parents giving permission. Lots of kids had that permission. It never, in a million years, occurred to me to ask my parents for that permission! I really had a lot of life ahead of me and I didn’t want it to end prematurely! So I smoked “illegally” for 4 years. Not once did I get busted when they did the periodic raids for the cards. They let me escape out the side door. That’s what I got for being a good kid overall.