Friends and Parents

I ran across Shannon Love from Chicago Boys the other day on the ‘net. I’d tell you where, but I can’t recall. It was a piece about “kids today”, describing some perceived bad behavior of teens. (One item involved a kid not finishing food he got at a buffet because he discovered he didn’t like it, or had discovered something more to his liking. That doesn’t exactly appall me.)

Anyway, I made a comment about being a parent first, to which Love responded by saying parents shouldn’t be friends at all. I’ve heard this sentiment before, and it always amuses me because it invariably downgrades friendship–and, in a weird way, parenthood.

Parents do have a unique responsibility to their children: They keep them physically safe and prepare them for independence. But the very act of good parenting reduces the need for parenting in the future, right? At which point, what sort of relationship will you have with your child? At some point, the parental role is more honorary and even nostalgic than actual.

And here’s another thing to chew on: One role model that serves children well is how to be a good friend. Say, the kind of friend that doesn’t “let friends drive drunk”. If you’re only dealing with your children from the rarified atmosphere of parental authority, how do you suppose they’re going to deal with others?

This is just the tip of a very big iceberg, and I’m not planning to write a whole bunch about parenting, but I thought I’d get that (partly) off my chest.

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