6 Wonderful Things That Happened When My Parents Became My Best Friends
Who says they are too old to understand us? In fact, they are the most awesome people in my life.
The brief story
When I was about 16 years old, my mum declared one day that we shall no longer address our parents as mum and dad, and instead, call them by their name. The main reason behind this was religious but it is not something I want to cover here. Anyway, when she made that decision, we all felt uncomfortable and find the change ridiculous. Not only was it ridiculous, but it also made us sound disrespectful when we have to call for them in the public or front of our relatives and friends.
However, my mum was very adamant about it.
Due to the change, the hierarchy in my family became almost flat. Apart from the basic respect and gratitude that they expect from us, my mum just wants us to treat her and my dad as friends, like good old friends. She chose to let go of the ‘higher authority’ that she has by default as a parent (and she made my dad followed her as well). As a result, our family dynamics started to change. Somehow, we were able to foster a much stronger bond and a loving relationship with one another.
Here are the 6 wonderful things that happened when my parents became my friends:
1. More truthful sharing
Since there is no more ‘top-down authority’, me and my siblings became less afraid to share with them our truthful thoughts. We know that they won’t nag or reprimand us endlessly or demand us to do their way because they are our ‘parents’.
Also, because of their age and life experiences that they have gone through, they naturally serve as our valued mentors. Whenever we meet conflicts in our lives, we are very willing to see them as listeners to our problems and to seek their advice. They also don’t expect us to heed all of their advice. Sharing becomes stress-free.
2. Better communication which reduces generation gap-related issues
Because we are more willing to share, they are also more willing to understand how our generation thinks and vice versa. This led to more effective communication with one another despite the age gap.
We are not afraid that they will dismiss our thoughts or authoritatively discourage us. Even if they disagree with certain issues or ways of thinking, they respect us as adults who are old enough to take full responsibility for our choices, whether the choices end up right or wrong.
3. Greater trust among one another
Because we are willing to be more truthful and there is better communication amongst ourselves. They worry less about us because we will want to update them often about our lives, regardless of how insignificant the updates are.
In exchange, we have more freedom and personal space. Who doesn’t love to be with someone who respects them as much as their personal space?
4. More quality time spent together
Because of the above-mentioned points, we tend to spend more quality time together. We don’t stare at our phones while having meals together. We enjoy each other’s presence. We are busy sharing the things that are going on in our lives as well as all the news and funny memes on social media. My parents are almost 60. They each have an Instagram account and they are one of our followers. How cool is that?
5. A strong long-term relationship establishes
Friends, spouse/partner, soulmate, etc. can change or leave, but not my parents. We know that this is going to be a long-term relationship until we are separated by death. We don’t have to worry that they will reject, judge and leave us because of who we are.
6. Greater respect and love for them
In the end, as children and juniors, we only have more respect and love for them that is way more than just out of an obligation. I enjoy being around my parents. I have no issue with hanging out with them often because we are just like good old friends.
Other than religious reasons, I know my mum has no intention of implementing that change to change the dynamics of our family relationship. But it did change and for the better.
If you are a parent, maybe it is now time that you start to establish some form of friendship with your children and let go of a part of your ‘parent’ mentality. You don’t have to do it the way my parents did. However, by letting go of some of the authority as a parent, not only may your children want to connect with you more, you may also well become the coolest person to them. 😉