The other day my four-year-old daughter got "upset" with me. She said, in a sassy way, "Well, then I'm not going to be your friend!" I responded with "Honey, I don't want to be your friend." I continued with, "I love you. I like to have fun with you. But, I'm not your friend." I realize this may have sounded harsh and that my daughter might not have completely understood my answer. However, I meant it. My daughter means the world to me. However, there are a few reasons why I don't want to be her friend.
Growing up, I had some neighbors that would allow their underage kids to have parties with alcohol. Needless to say, the kids grew up without any rules. Now as adults, you can tell these kids never had any boundaries. Why? Their parents wanted to be their friends. It would be hard to discipline my daughter if I were her friend. Friends can confront friends. However, discipline is something that comes from a parent or caregiver.
My daughter is always testing the waters. She wants to see what she can get away with. If my husband and I were afraid that she "wouldn't like us," she might escape punishment. As a teacher, I have seen many children who do not respect adults and have not had any boundaries. They might get in trouble at school. However, rather than discipline the child, the parent will try to prevent their child from suffering any consequences. This is leading to children who can't get along with others and have a hard time being told "no."
I know it's a long way off. However, I imagine my children will have significant others in the future. It's likely they will get married. I truly believe that married people should cleave to one another and leave their parents. This doesn't mean that I don't want to be "there" for my daughter. If she is in trouble or asks for advice, I will be there to listen and give my opinion. However, I don't need my daughter to call me when she and her spouse have a little argument over who should clean up the litter box.
My daughter will have plenty of friends in her lifetime. However, she will only have one mom. I will love her, support her and guide her. I will be friendly, just not a friend.
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