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Parents: You are Their Best Friend

As many of you know, my wife and I have two wonderful kids. Our oldest will be 3 years old next month which is crazy. And as most parents of toddlers will tell you, they can be a bit of a challenge (to say the least). They can be defiant and stubborn, and the word “no” will escape their lips way more often than you think. Love them like we do, toddlers can be a great deal of work.

Another thing most parents will be able to tell you is just how tiring this parenting business can be. By the time the late afternoon rolls around, it’s not uncommon to be completely devoid of energy. This lack of energy can lead to crankiness and a “short fuse” on the part of the parent, which can then lead to snapping at your kids or not wanting to really get involved in spending quality time with them.

My wife was telling me about a quote she read in a book on disciplining children, which said something to this effect:

You are your child’s best friend.

You are the person with whom they want to spend their time, the person with whom they want to share the joy after having just put their own socks on for the first time. They want you to come look at the imaginary fire truck they built in their bedroom. They want you to handle the outboard motor when you take imaginary fishing trips on their beds..They want nothing more than for you to be happy with them and to have your approval and companionship. They want you. You.

Hearing that was like getting smacked in the face with a cue ball-loaded sock. I thought back on all the evenings I’d spent with my kids, doing my very best to simply keep them alive and clean instead of actually being a parent. I’d come home from work, exhausted and wanting nothing more than to relax with a cold beer and some “me” time, but I’d be in charge of kids (my wife works several nights per week at a restaurant). So, I’d try to think of things to do that would merely pass the time until it was time for them to go to bed. Honestly, thinking about this in retrospect is pretty upsetting.

Even though I’m in the thick of it now, I know that I’ll only have my kids at this age for a short time. I implore you, parents (and even future parents, for that matter), realize that you are the entire world to your kids, at least for a little while. Remember that you are their best friend, and that love such as that should be cherished and nurtured.

(I say all this not as some sort of “teacher”, but just as a regular guy who is trying to do right by his own family.)

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