Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Affection and esteem

Pam Sorooshian wrote:

Something that has rattled around in my head for years is the line, "You're the parent, not their friend."

I was just reading a news article and someone was quoted as saying: "Your kids don’t need a 40-year-old friend. They need a parent."

What a tragic dichotomy that one little line sets up!

Every single time that line has ever entered my head, it was leading me in the wrong direction. Every time.

What is a friend? I'm not talking about the schoolmates teenagers go out partying and drinking with. Not talking about the 5-year-old kid your child happens to play with at the park that day. I'm talking about real friendship.

1. a friend: one attached to another by affection or esteem

Knowing what I know now, with my kids grown, I strongly feel that that that one line, which permeates parental consciousnesses, should be quickly and actively contradicted and rooted out like a pernicious weed every single time it sprouts up.

Instead of "You're the parent, not their friend," substitute, "Be the very very best friend to them you can possibly be."
—Pam Sorooshian
photo by Sandra Dodd


  1. I love it too. I think of being a friend as being mindful of what the other person needs and finding the most honest and healthy ways that I can meet those needs. If that is being a friend, then I can't imagine why I wouldn't want to be a friend to my child.

  2. I have never thought about it but I totally agree. Possibly the problem is how we as adults see friendship. Often we use that term when we feel as though we can not correct our children for fear of losing their friendship when in actuality a good friend constructively highlights faults.

  3. This was put so beautifully.

  4. Bravo, Pam. Laurie was my best friend at age one and she's my best friend at age 33. I can't imagine not having that friendship!

    Valerie Fitzenreiter

  5. My Mom has always been my best friend. My peers would tell me that we were an anomaly. I am about to turn 40 and we are still very close. I love the relationship I have with my mother and the one I had with my father. I strive to be the friend to my kids that my parents were to me.

  6. I couldn't imagine not being my children's friend, and I think it's very sad that people think they need to choose between being their child's friend and being a parent, as if those two things can't coexist.


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