Most of us have heard countless admonitions against becoming friends with our children. Like Church and State, these warnings seem to imply that successful parenting entails creating a great division between the realms of parenting and friendship. They advise grasping the parental role by the horns and maintaining authoritative power in order to garner love and respect from your children. In short, to have a happy, healthy, thriving child, friendship and parenting simply cannot coexist. This, I'm here to assert, is totally bogus. Not only is becoming friends with your kid amazing in almost every possible way, but it's a process that you might not even see coming; Considering that kids start out as needy babies who are as devoid of personality and incapable of stimulating conversation as humans ever get, it can be surprising when you look up and realize, "Wait, you're kind of... awesome. Like, not just awesome in the sense that you're my child and therefore I love you on that basis alone, but you're like, genuinely excellent to hang out with and I like you."
While no one can argue the importance of boundaries in the parent/child dynamic, the idea that you can't or won't eventually become friends with someone that you'll be spending so much time with for the next 18 years is preposterous. Of course, you likely won’t be besties with your kid right off the bat. After all, who’d want to be friends with someone who is perpetually crapping all over them, siphoning off their money, hiding their car keys, throwing tantrums in check out lines, and keeping them awake at all hours of the night? Like anything worth waiting for, think fine wines and aged cheeses here, the process of your kid becoming your favorite person to hang out with is a gradual one.
1. They Slowly Become More Like Tiny Roommates
Over the years, as they become less and less dependent on you to feed, bathe, diaper, clothe, and generally care for them, your kid(s) will actually become more like tiny, overzealous, roomies than your budding offspring. They will undoubtedly eat all your food, use all your expensive body wash, and play their music far too loud; Their friends will come over, and you will hate it. However, they will also infuse fun shenanigans into normally mundane days and will most certainly keep you on your toes. There will be days when you come home from work and you're like, "Ugh, thank god you're here, I need to hardcore hang out right now and forget about my terrible day." And they'll be like, "YES. OK. LET'S DO THAT."
2. Their Sense Of Humor Starts To Grow On You
As they first learn to master the spoken word, expect a lot of terrible, nonsensical, and mind-numbingly repetitive one-liners. However, once they hit their stride, your kid will be able to make you laugh like no one else. Before long, both their antics and their jokes will have you in stitches and you’ll find yourself trying to retell their jokes to your adult friends (who won't get them, and will also now think you're lame/insane).
3. You Start Acting Extra Weird Together
Perhaps the single greatest thing about young kids is that they do not judge you. Unlike other adults, when your kid catches you dancing around in your underwear, singing Taylor Swift loudly and proudly, they will be completely unphased. In fact, they will probably jump in and dance terribly right along with you. Being able to be yourself, completely unabashedly with another little human, is beyond freaking awesome — it's part of the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
4. They Bring Out The Kid In You
While the rest of your childless friends get judged for acting like a kid (as they undoubtedly wish they could do), you get called a good parent for doing so (which you would totally want to do anyway). Things society would otherwise deem you to be "too old" for, like binge eating junk food, having slumber parties, watching the newest animated films, and playing arcade games, are totally on the table when you hang out with your kid. Sure, it’s great to be legal to buy beer and rent a car, but there’s also something to be said for eating Trix from the box while sporting monkey pajamas and rubbing elbows with your favorite pint-sized comrade.
5. They Act Like You, But Smaller And Cuter
Whether it's nature or nurture has yet to be determined, but the reality is that your kid is likely going to look and act like you, and some of your favorite people. Over the years, they will pick up mannerisms from your partner, share some of your own adorable idiosyncrasies, and use similar inflections and vocabulary as the rest of the fam. And what’s not to love about having your own mini-me to dress and hang out with??
6. They Tell It Like It Is
Children have no pretenses. They are honest to a fault. Unlike in the adult world, where you are always second guessing yourself, you’ll always know exactly what your kid is feeling, all the time. If they are mad at you, you won't have to dig through the tangled web of social nuances to figure it out. They'll just tell you. And when they're happy to be around you, they will sing it from the roof tops. There is nothing like the friendship and love of your child. Your kid will love you fiercely, proudly, and vulnerably, if you let them. Who the hell doesn't want a friend like that?
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