Posted in #atozchallenge, Blog Hops and Fests, Parenting, poetry, Social Consciousness, Unschooling

Openness, not “’Onarchy” – #atozchallenge for April 18, 2017

Slices of An Unschooling Life Theme Reveal Post

Today’s Poetry Type

Oddquain

(Merged Mirror Oddquain Butterfly)

Election Night with Lise, age 12...free to attend a write-in, even if she didn't write!
Election Night with Lise, age 12…free to attend a write-in, even if she didn’t write!

Open

Kids

who are free

to learn and explore

Openness, not “’onarchy!”

Peace

expands, grows, and radiates

Parental guidance

not decree

Life

Free to take advantage of a special school-day Alexander Hamilton-themed tour of the Schuyler Mansion in Albany, New York.
Free to take advantage of a special school-day Alexander Hamilton-themed tour of the Schuyler Mansion in Albany, New York.

When I was a girl growing up, I didn’t live in an open environment. My parents believe, still, that there needs to be a strong boundary line between children and adults, with adults always – always – in the position of power over the children.

I'm her mom AND here friend - which means we have lots of moments that look like this.
I’m her mom AND here friend – which means we have lots of moments that look like this.

Maybe that’s not surprising. It’s a common enough parenting paradigm:

You’re their parent, not their friend.”

It’s an adage said so often, I wonder if it’s actually considered on its merit, or if it’s simply assumed that parents are meant to keep their children under control.

Personally, I strive to be my children’s friend. I don’t see most things as a strict either/or situation. I can be my childrens’ parent without having to be their enemy…but, in order for this to work, I have to be open.

What does that mean, exactly?

First off, it matters how I define my role as a parent, and how I view friendship with each of my kids. I have to accept that it’s not the same thing as befriending another adult. I am, after all, legally and morally responsible for their behavior, care, and safety. I also have decades more experience in life (I was 32 when my son was born, and nearly 35 when we welcomed our daughter into our family). I’ve got the perspective that goes along with making mistakes, getting things right, and having had the time to see what came of many of my choices.

As an adult, I can also make certain things more possible for them. I have readier access to cash; I can legally drive; and I can authorize things they need parental consent for.

Because we're friends, I got invited along to hunt Pokemon.  A nice long walk, an historic marker to read, and an opportunity to just be with my getting-to-be-a-man kid.  You can't see it, but I was smiling, too!
Because we’re friends, I got invited along to hunt Pokemon.  A nice long walk, an historic marker to read, and an opportunity to just be with my getting-to-be-a-man kid.  You can’t see it, but I was smiling, too!

But that doesn’t mean we can’t also be friends. After all, adults turn to friends who have greater skills, and these friends can also be mentors.

That’s the type of friend I am to my children – the kind who offers the benefit of what I’ve lived and learned, free for my children to take – or leave.

                               Yup. You guessed it...I'm his friend, too!
                               Yup. You guessed it…I’m his friend, too!

But there’s more to it than that. In order to be a good friend, I have to be more than “Mom,” which is more of a role than an identity. What I have to do is to be myself – to share with them who I am as a person. Not just their mom, as though I was never anything before they were born, and will cease existing after they’ve grown.

This isn’t as common in parenting as I think it ought to be. That’s sad, because that kind of honest openness grows and shapes a mutually respectful friendship. Where many parents who aren’t their kids’ friends my need to dictate, enforce, and punish to “keep them in line”, I can rely on this friendship. When there’s a problem, we can address and deal with it peacefully.

To my way of thinking, that’s much better – and not at all anarchy.

And, if you don’t believe me, the proof is in the photos. 

What do you think?
Can parents be their childrens’ friends?

Why or why not?

Okay, okay, I know! You want more O posts! You know what to do, right? Click here, or on the icon below, and ogle the Blogging From A-Z April Challenge offerings!

Please come back tomorrow, when I present the sharing potential of podcasts.

Close enough friends that he wanted me to be part of his fifteenth birthday dinner. Can you see the anarchy in his eyea? ;D
Close enough friends that he wanted me to be part of his fifteenth birthday dinner. Can you see the anarchy in his eyea? ;D

Author:

I am myself. I own my life, and live with three other people who own theirs. My intention is to do only those things that bring me joy, and to give myself wholly to those things I do. Writing has been my passion throughout my life, and this will become the home for my writing life...because it brings me great joy!

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