This Article is About
parenthood
friendship bond
early adulthood
parental guidance
misconception
adolescence
regrets
feelings
perspective
experiences
relationship
Parenthood, Building Strong Bonds And Learning To Let Go
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Parenthood, Building Strong Bonds And Learning to Let Go

My daughter (and only child) recently turned 18 and will be going off to college in a few, short weeks. Emotionally it hasn’t been an easy time for me and I’m sure that there are plenty of other parents out there going through similar feelings as college fast approaches. I’ve given it much thought and realize that I’ve come to a point in parenthood where I need to learn to let go. My daughter will be on her own for the first time, making her own decisions and I need to trust that she will make the right ones (most of the time). As children grow into early adulthood it’s difficult to let go and allow them to make decisions (and mistakes) on their own, but it’s been my experience that the best way to learn is through your own mistakes. All the greatest advice in the world cannot compare to your own life’s learning experiences.

Over the years I have been criticized for being my daughter’s friend. I think people have the misconception that you cannot be a parent and friend at the same time, but I really don’t believe that to be true. My daughter feels comfortable talking to me about anything and actively solicits my advice as her MOTHER and it’s the friendship bond that we share that makes this all possible.

Growing up today is more difficult than ever before and so is being a parent. There are so many negative outside influences in the world and it is more important than ever for a child to know that they have a loving parent who they can turn to who will listen non-judgmentally to their life situations and concerns and offer their own perspective and advice. You need to speak to your children so they will listen and trust you. I never had that relationship with my parents and with no parental guidance as an adolescence and young adult, I have many regrets that I think could have been avoided if I had a loving parent or adult that I felt comfortable speaking with before I made decisions that I’ve regretted.

I will admit there are also downsides to being your child’s friend, but I believe that the benefits far outweigh the negatives. I always told my daughter that she could always tell me anything and if you tell them this, I will guarantee you will hear things that you would rather not know, but this does gives you the ability to voice your opinion as a “friend” whose opinion is valued and taken into consideration. I think the alternative is for your child to listen only to their friends’ advice and do things “behind your back” anyway.

I also told my daughter that she could always call me in the middle of the night and I would pick her up “no questions asked”. I’ve never had to do this, but I think it’s a guarantee of her safety if faced with an unsafe situation and we always text back and forth throughout the night to be sure everything is okay. It has also been my experience that you do lose some level of parental respect because your child will feel comfortable talking to you as they would their friends, but on the positive side, I’ve gained a whole new perspective into the lives of young adults today.

As my daughter goes off to college, I actually think letting go may be a little easier for me because I know that if my daughter is faced with a difficult situation, she will not only talk to her friends, but will most likely also turn to her mom and “best friend” (as I’ve been referred to many times) and I know that we will keep in touch often. I think this quote that I found on Facebook sums up my feelings, “Give the ones you love wings to fly, roots to come back and reasons to stay.”

As a child grows, it is so important that the parent-child relationship grows with it. I think my advice to all the parents out there with young children would be to cherish the younger years (even the terrible twos), build a very strong bond with your child at a very young age and continue to develop that bond as it changes and grows throughout their adolescence and early adulthood. If you do this, you will have a strong bond and relationship throughout adulthood, marriage, grandchildren, etc. and will always be a special part of your child’s life. Let go and allow your relationship to grow with your child and you will have a lifetime friend.


Street Talk

Anna Ware  

Beautiful article. You are so right.

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Thank you so much!

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Thanks!!!

Reply
  about 8 years ago
Sherry B.  

Hi Carol, Very nice article! I really enjoyed reading it and have to agree with you that it is better to be a friend too, not just a parent. My daughter will be turning 18 next year and we also are friends. Life is so tough, especially nowadays, so I want her to know that she always has someone there for her when she needs help. That's what family is all about, at least in my opinion. Best wishes! -Sherry

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Life is very tough for kids these days, especially girls. I'm glad you liked the article and thank you for your comment!

Reply
  about 8 years ago
Nancykaye  

I totally agree with your approach. I'm a friend to my son and we are close and enjoy each other's company even now that he's over 40 years old. The article is very real to most parents and a smooth read.

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Thank you for your comment and that's great to hear that you are so close to your son!

Reply
  about 8 years ago

I see nothing wrong with being your child's friend. You can be a parent, a best friend, and a confidante, all rolled into one. As parents, we wear many hats. Hate to borrow from a familiar corporate slogan, but, you made the right choice. :-) I enjoyed reading your well-written article!

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Thank you!

Reply
  about 8 years ago
Eric15  

It seems as though you have a great bond with your daughter, and that's very important. Thank you for sharing that with us! Eric

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Thanks for your comment!

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Very nice article. Just a suggestion add 2 links to your website toward the end so you can create back links

Reply
  about 8 years ago

I'm very new to all this...appreciate your advice...thank you!

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Thank you for the great advice! I will do that in my next article.

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Teaching your children strong values while young will never part from them they will always carrying them where ever they go, building strong bonds will last forever. I believe you found your passion

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Thank you so much!

Reply
  about 8 years ago
Jolly  

Well done.Its really an emotional article and I really liked it.

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Thank you!

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Good article Carol. I see you made several references in regard to you being your child's' friend. and being criticized for it. I think it's possible to be a parent and a friend to your child, as long as parenting comes first. I've known parents who could not do that and ultimately the children suffered due to lack of discipline. My daughter tells me everything as well and it's a great feeling to know she is able to communicate with me in that respect. I raised her with a great openness and always made sure I emphasized to her she could "tell me anything," without judgement. Thats important for children and it's our job to listen and give feedback in order to help them grow into young adults.

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Great minds think alike...thank you for your comment!

Reply
  about 8 years ago

I know you are and we are all here to help you anyway we can. You are welcome

  
  about 8 years ago
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