Why we give you the side eye when….

When I hear an adult brag about how their under the age of 18 child is their best friend, I suck my teeth a tinch and give them the side eye.  Why? Well.  If I can be frank, it think that person has some unresolved fear and is a tad bit selfish.  First, if your child is your best friend then that means you aren’t growing very much.  You are limited to as much growth as your child.  And in turn, that person is stunting their child’s growth.  That adult is preventing the child from having a access and exposure to more life.  The parent is a barrier for the child being able to experience life without the responsibility of helping manage an adult personality.  It can eventually cause some guilt and resentment from the adult and the child later in life.

One of the definitions of a best friend is a person who you value above other friendships in your life, someone you have fun with, someone you trust and someone in whom you confide.  When you have good news and bad news to share your best friend is there to listen, to help process, to help celebrate or to help you clean up your mess.  That is a lot of responsibility for someone who is still learning their spelling words and how to effectively wipe their butt.  As an adult it is our responsibility to intentionally grow and help our baby birds get to our level or beyond.  If your child is your best friend, neither of you are growing in a way because both of you are feeding off each others lack of knowledge.

I get it, I get it.  I know our kids hold a special bond in our hearts.  In many ways they may have the capacity to give us the love of a best friend.  But their love is deeper than that.  A child’s love can literally save your entire life just because of their presence.  And often when you have insightful conversations with them you can learn a lot. However being their friend and confiding in them creates a breeding ground for an atmosphere of disrespect.  There are no boundaries when your child is  your best friend so discipline is out of the question.  When was the last time you sent your best friend to bed early because of a bad grade on their math test?

When your child is your designated bestie it could mean that you are too afraid to allow others to be part of your village.  It is definitely a coping mechanism and understood.  But when it comes to being around other adults, developing healthy relationships and encouraging each other to grow…the benefits outweigh the risks of being hurt.  You can’t avoid hurt without ensuring you avoid joy as well.  Your fear and extreme caution will delay opportunities for some awesome relationships mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

So…..when I hear you say that your child (under 18) is your best friend……we probably can’t be friends because I need friends I can learn adult things from.  I am in a constant state of change and need a support system that can handle my daily evolutionisms!!!  I love kiddie talk but only in moderation.  I want to be able to use adult words and not refer to the bathroom as the potty while we sit and drink warm milk.


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Montoyia McGowan, LCSW

(901) 273-3485

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Union Centre Memphis, TN 38104

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