When I was a kid (I know, how dare I start an article like that?!), my parents were certainly not my friends. I mean, they loved me and I loved them and we did fun stuff together, but like, we didn’t hang out once I hit middle school and I was uncomfortable watching sex scenes in movies with them and there was plenty about my life they didn’t know.
Also? They did not care one single whit whether or not their opinions or rules pissed me off. In fact, I suspect they sort of relished it, though they would probably deny it now.
There are a lot of parents today (GenX and Millennial parents) who tread lightly, wanting their kids to “like” them and feeling sad if they don’t want to hang out with them all the time. Teenagers need space; I promise that if you’re a good parent, they will one day want to hang out with you again.
It’s fine to pick your battles, to have a laid back parenting style on most things, but if parents don’t draw a line in the sand about some things – have some rules that are hard and expectations that must be met – their kids are going to turn out to be a**holes.
And I really hope you don’t want to do that to the rest of us.
If your kid doesn’t think you’re the meanest mom ever, or isn’t low-key annoyed with you at least some of the time? I doubt you’re doing the best job possible (unless you just have an inherently great and responsible and adult-like child).
Kids need boundaries and restrictions, they need a safe place to land, they need advice, and they need to be taught social norms and manners, because we’re not born with those things.
Your kids should love, trust, and respect you. They should feel like they could ask you anything, and talk to you about whatever, but they shouldn’t think of you as a friend, because you’re not – you’re their mom.
One day, you will be friends, but if they still live in your house, if you’re still responsible for raising them into functioning, adult members of society, that day is not today.
Trust me, you’ll be sorry one day if you look around and realize you don’t want to hang out with the humans you birthed because they’re crappy people. Better to be called mean now so you can live our your days in happiness and peace.
And, you know, well taken care of by your lovely adult children.