I think we think we do this from a place of love, however sometimes when we "assume" our opinion is correct, we can completely turn them against us and our thoughts or at the other end of the spectrum, guilt them into actually thinking our opinion is right and making them completely unhappy which in the end will cause resentment. Either situation is putting a huge damper on our relationship with our children. Every once in awhile I see posts on FB stating that our children are our children, not our friends. I am not saying that this statement is wrong, but when thinking from a loving place and a non-ego driven place I disagree with the statement 100%. Growing up is difficult for some especially when they do not have someone to talk with or ask questions to. My mother was my best friend growing up. From an early age we had a open and honest relationship. She always said, "Come to me with anything, and I will not yell or freak out as long as you are completely honest with me." Let me tell you, I went to her with some doozies.....lol She was the first person I told when I "chewed & screwed" at a Pizza Hut. She kept true to her reaction as long as I was honest, but the disappointment in her eyes was enough that I never even thought of doing that crazy stunt again. My mom was the first, oops I mean third person to know the first time I had sex.......How many of us out there can share that information with our parents? My mom was my friend and I am so grateful that I could share anything with her with no judgement. My parents never pushed college or offered their opinions on why or why not I should go. Despite the fact that they were both Catholic, they let me choose my own denomination for a church. I went to several different services and to this day I am still not sure where or if I want to be a part of any of them. What matters is, it was my choice, not theirs. I know in my heart that being a friend to your child is a gift, not a terrible act. My relationship with my parents is incredibly strong because of the open and honest discussions and confessions I had with them. When you were younger and had a issue, did you go to a friend or a parent? Most of us tend to go to friends because "apparently" they know more and are more understanding. Well first of all a child giving advice to another child who has no experience with their issue may not offer the same advice or guidance you may. I am not saying your advice is right or wrong, but wouldn't you rather know what is going on in your child's life? Keep that door open, ALWAYS. Because my parents respected me as much as I respected them, I did go to them for advice. I certainly did not agree with it all, but felt comfortable enough asking. I feel to many of us ourselves feared our parents. We did not make that fear happen, our parents did....so change the pattern.
Our challenge this week is to listen to our kids, not interrupt them and guiding not forcing our thoughts on them. No offense, but we are not always right. Let our kids have their journeys be theirs, not ours. So this week, ask them about their future and keep your ears open and mouth closed. Let them finish, no matter how foolish you may think their dream is. Maybe they think the paths we took are foolish. If you're kids are younger, and they want to wear mismatched clothes or want leftover pizza for breakfast let them. If and only if they ask you for your opinion or advice, give it. If their grades aren't what you want them to be, so what? If you know they can do better, gently remind them but do not attack them or say comments that will make them feel worse.
Simply in a nutshell: Ask, listen and be there friend for the next 7 days. You may be surprised at what you have started with your child; a relationship with an equal amount of love and respect. Try hard no to be that "I'm right because I am the adult and you are wrong because you are the kid," attitude. I would like to end with a scenario that happened with Avery and I a couple of weekends ago. My boys were away for a weekend, so Avery and I had some "girl time." Our definition of girl time is doing Pinterest projects around the house and paint. FUN, FUN! Anyway, while we were working on one of our projects, I had asked her to do something or I could of honestly even been playing, "my opinion" about something on her. When I got done asking or telling she looked at me, sat down and said(not in a mean or smart ass way), "You know mom, I do not have to do what you tell me to." I took her comment in and thought to myself, "She is right Sandi, so what's your best reaction going to be?" I turned around, looked at her and busted out laughing! I said, "You know what, you are right Ave, and boy are we going to have so much fun together during your teenage years." We both cracked up. Now I could of reacted differently to her comment by yelling at her for saying it , or sent her to her room with no dinner .lol What would of that solved? NA DA! Instead I took the happy path where she saw me as a person who respected and acknowledged her comment with no adverse reaction. Avery and I will always be friends and we both love and respect each other and our opinions! I am a proud mamma saying out loud......I AM FRIENDS WITH MY KIDS! Peace....and good luck!