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Are you friends with your adult kids and/or parents?

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phmh posted 11/15/2013 19:13 PM

I consider myself to be friends with my parents. Now. Not when I was growing up, but as an adult, and certainly more so once I was single again. We have a lot of common interests and do many things together.

Two weeks ago, I was at a basketball game with my dad and his friend (who I've known my entire life and who is a close friend of the family -- I've gone to games with him when my dad couldn't go and he had extra tickets.) We have season tickets for our local NCAA basketball team, so I see him regularly during the season, and we tell each other "love you" when we meet. (I also do this with his wife.) Essentially, we're family.

Anyway, my dad was parking the car so I was talking with this guy alone for 10-15 minutes. I mentioned something about being friends with my parents, and he told me that it's impossible for parents and (adult) kids to be friends. When my dad got there, of course he said we were friends (what else would he say in front of me?) and this guy has a very fraught relationship with his daughter, to say the least (though things are OK with his sons.)

It's not going to change my opinion of the relationship I have with my parents, but I was just wondering what others' thoughts were on this?

HFSSC posted 11/15/2013 19:17 PM

My mother is one of my best friends. She drives me crazy sometimes but she is the one person (besides JM ) that completely understands me. We can almost read each other's mind. I love spending time with her, except for when she is in manic overdrive. But even then, I understand her.

phmh posted 11/15/2013 19:22 PM

Thanks -- I see this guy next Tuesday at a game and I'm going to tell him I'm not the only one :)

inconnu posted 11/15/2013 19:38 PM

I'm not friends with my mom, and my kids are very young adult males, and I'm still in parent mode with them, so yeah, not really friends with them either.

With my mom, I love her. But there's just way too many FOO issues for me to think of her as a friend. It took me a long time just to be comfortable being the authentic me around her, and even now I still catch myself falling back into old behaviors.

With my boys, they will do things with me, willingly. Especially if there's food involved. But they're only 21 and 18, and they don't think of me as a friend. I'm their mom, kwim? I don't know that it'll change any as they get older, either. Besides, I don't know that I want it to change. I'm good with being their mom.

GabyBaby posted 11/15/2013 20:23 PM

I am not friends with my parents. They're both lifelong <insert what we're all surviving here> and have very poor boundaries. I wish them no ill will, but they're not "good" people.

That said, I am friends with my adult daughter. We had a very difficult relationship after her father killed the marriage, but as an adult, she's starting to understand more and we have a good relationship. My son and I have a really good relationship, though technically he isn't an adult yet.

phmh posted 11/15/2013 20:43 PM

I appreciate your comments, my dear SI friends!

I feel so lucky in that I don't think that I really have FOO issues. I was really poor growing up, but my parents were parents and not friends. They also were loving and encouraging, and generally fabulous!

I think I was just shocked by family friend's assertion that parents can never be friends with their kids. I enjoy spending time with my parents and they've met many of my friends, who love my parents as well.

Sad in AZ posted 11/16/2013 00:06 AM

I've never thought of my parents as friends; I love them, but I would never have sought them out as friends. They're my parents, and will always be.

I'm very close with DS, but we are not friends either; I will always be Mom--the one he comes to for advice. We've had a lot of fun together, and that will continue, but we don't treat each other as friends.

frigidfire86 posted 11/16/2013 03:57 AM

My mom is my best friend and I am hers. It wasn't always this way between us though. My dad, OTOH, is more like that person you see occasionally and are friendly with, but there's an awkwardness to it.

tesla posted 11/16/2013 06:44 AM

I am very good friends with my parents. Our relationship was pretty strained during my teen and college years...normal stuff...I thought they were stupid and they thought I was selfish. But since discovering they are kinda smart, we've been pretty close. My mom and I have taken a few trips together over the years, we talk on the phone weekly for a couple of hours. The last couple of years, my dad and I have gotten really close. When I'm out at my parents, I love sitting on the porch with them, throwing back a few beers, and just talking...about whatever strikes our fancy.

Whalers11 posted 11/16/2013 06:45 AM

No, I would not consider myself "friends" with my parents.

Please1983 posted 11/16/2013 07:36 AM

Yes, my mum is one of my best friends, I talk to her almost everyday on the phone and see her at least once a week. My dad too, but he's not much of a talker. Been that way since I was about 24 maybe.

sinsof thefather posted 11/16/2013 07:36 AM

My mum is absolutely my best and wisest friend in the whole world - that I totally love her to death, and she loves me too, is a wonderful bonus.

tushnurse posted 11/16/2013 07:54 AM

I love my parents dearly. We have fun together and can hang out. Do I consider them friends ? Not really. They are my parent an they still consider me their kid. Now my MIL? I do consider her a friend.

I hope to have a similar relationship with my kids when they are adults but I will always be their mom and always be worried about their well being and so forth.

circe posted 11/16/2013 08:48 AM

I think it's like most friendships in that it depends on the personalities of the people involved and if you're in the same same general place in your life.

I'm not friends with my parents, though I confide more in my mother now that I'm in my 40's than I ever have - mostly because I'm moving into the same "place" she is. She's dealing with elderly issues and I'm not, but for the first time in my life I feel like we're both in the same larger peer group. We're not friends, and I don't always like her, but I can see that if she were a more likeable person we could have been friends as well as mother and daughter.

The parent/child roles don't have that huge power differential they used to when the children were younger, so I think parents and children can at a certain point be peers, rather than on completely different life levels. The parenting is a background hum, in my life at least.

My son is 19 now and there's obviously still the mother/child dynamic is in full force, though has changed. I expect it to change a lot more. At a certain point, he will have as full and complicated a life and ties as I do, and then a decade or so will pass as he lives that completely adult life, and then sure I can see us as being friends. I had him very young and raised him alone for several years and I can feel that our dynamic is different than the dynamic between me and my daughter, who was born into an established family with a mom in her 30's, and a dad and older brother and older step-sister. The lines are so much different with her. I think we'll have a different adult relationship than me and my son.

Skye posted 11/16/2013 08:57 AM

We were friends with my parents when they were younger. Dad is gone now and mom is too elderly. As far as my adult children, like someone else said, we love each and definitely hang out together--ball games, vacations, music festivals, etc., but they still want me to be mom, so I am. lol

ruinedandbroken posted 11/16/2013 09:02 AM

My parents drive me nuts like only parents can do but they are absolutely my friends. I call my mother almost everyday just to chat and talk to my father at least once a week if not more. They don't live near me but I wish they did. I love spending time with them. I do have some FOO issues because of them, especially my mom. But I also know she always loved me and she did the best she could with her FOO issues. She has A LOT of FOO issues. Most of us do the best we can as parents with the tools we were given, you know?

[This message edited by ruinedandbroken at 9:07 AM, November 16th (Saturday)]

Take2 posted 11/16/2013 09:40 AM

My mom and I are friends and I'm friends with my daughters too. I think for us it has worked because my parents treated us kids as adults when we became adults (probably a little before then), and I followed their example with my own kids.

I see my other friends in combative relationships with their kids, married kids, in their late 20's, early 30's, and my advice always seems to be the same: Shut your trap - they are adults. It is their decision! Or conversely: Let them deal with the consequences of their decisions, stop trying to fix everything - they'll figure it out! And in watching my friends struggle I am so very grateful for my own parents' example.

I've been thinking about this a lot lately, and I think what makes it possible for us is abiding by boundaries, and mutual respect. We let each other know we are there, but we don't pry where we aren't invited. I suppose we make allowances for certain annoying traits or whatnot - but you do that with friends too.

damncutekitty posted 11/16/2013 10:01 AM

I've never really been close to my parents. I spent my entire childhood convinced that they didn't really love me and trying desperately to win approval I never got, and when I hit my 20s and stopped trying then they basically stopped talking to me. We don't have much in common and we have to make a concerted effort to be polite when we are around each other. Sometimes I feel like they go out of their way to alienate me or bait me into arguments. I dread the holidays.

lost_in_toronto posted 11/16/2013 13:32 PM

I consider my mom and dad my friends. My sister is my best friend, and my mom comes a close second. She can still drive me nuts, cause she's my mom, but we can actually laugh about that now.

I think we are so close because we have no expectations of each other. My dad always says 'I didn't have you so you could make me happy. Do what makes you happy'. There is a lot of support and respect that flows in all directions, but no expectations.

mom of 2 posted 11/16/2013 14:02 PM

I've never thought of my parents as friends; I love them, but I would never have sought them out as friends. They're my parents, and will always be.

I'm very close with DS, but we are not friends either; I will always be Mom--the one he comes to for advice. We've had a lot of fun together, and that will continue, but we don't treat each other as friends.

I'm with Sad. I have (mostly lol) no ill feelings towards towards my parents or kids but I would never consider them "friends". That's what friends are for!

Just my opinion.

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