0:00:00 – Speaker 1
nextTalk, sponsored by NextTalkorg, contains content of a mature nature. Parental guidance is advised. Welcome to nextTalk Radio with Mandy and Kim Every Saturday at 10 am on AM630, the word. Mandy is the author of Talk and Kim is the director of nextTalk, a non-profit organization helping parents’ cyberparent through open communication. Follow us on Facebook, instagram and Twitter, find our free video series and subscribe to our weekly podcast at NextTalkorg. Are you ready for the nextTalk?
0:00:38 – Speaker 2
Today’s show topic is about being your kid’s friend or not. I feel like this is a really divisive issue. Like people, it’s like a trigger point for people. Yes, they get irritated or they’re like no, it’s fine.
0:00:53 – Speaker 3
Yeah, when we started talking about this, I was like oh no, oh no, you cannot be your kid.
0:00:58 – Speaker 2
Yeah, you got a little sassy. I was sassy About it and I was like well, I think I’m looking at it a little differently. And then, as we talk through it, we’re like you know what? This would be a great show.
0:01:08 – Speaker 3
Well, it’s so much about semantics.
0:01:10 – Speaker 2
It is so much, and I think we need to start first of all. We’re so divided about everything, you have to pick a side, whether you agree or not agree with anything today, and so we throw this out there be your kid’s friend or not and we say yes or no, and then we base a lot of parenting decisions off of it. But we really need to think about OK, what are we really asking here? How are we defining the word friends?
0:01:35 – Speaker 3
What does it mean to us Well, and that’s where the conversation needs to begin what is the definition of friend, and not just for ourselves, but for our families?
0:01:46 – Speaker 2
You know I went OK. So you, I’m getting tongue tied because I’m getting all flustered up in here.
You’re turning red already, yeah, ok, so I get that there are extreme stories out there and we’ve all heard them. You know where parents are hosting parties and they’re supplying alcohol and there’s sex and drugs going on, like in their home, and I get, I mean, you cannot do that. So if that’s what you’re defining as being your kid’s friend, that is wrong. Well, and I normally don’t say a lot of things are wrong, because I always say your family, your choice, but I’m going to tell you that’s wrong, like, don’t let your kids do illegal and underage activities in your home. Sure, but that’s not really how I define friends.
Well, how do you define it? So, so you know, I talk a lot in my book about building this safe place for my kids, and so when I talk about being my kid’s friend, what I’m envisioning is my kid got rejected, my kid didn’t make something, my kid got, you know, left out of a friend thing and she’s hurting. She or he is hurting and they’re in their room crying. They need a minute and and me would crawl in bed with them and cry with them and not try to fix it, not try to, you know, talk it away, but just listen, just be a friend, be there for them. And so when I think about being your kid’s friend, that’s what I think about. Like understanding their culture, understanding everything that’s coming at them, you can help them process it a little bit better. But I’m I’m learning that that’s not how everybody defines friend, because there are many people who have said to me well, I don’t want to make my kids mad, so I can’t discipline them.
0:03:35 – Speaker 3
Well, and that’s more, yeah, yeah, that’s more the place that I come from is not good.
No, because that’s our role as parents and that’s part of what we need to do is discipline and create parameters and and create an environment where they can flourish, and that’s our job as mom and dad.
You know, to me a friend is someone that’s a peer or a mentor, and that not that you can’t be a mentor to your kids, obviously, but it just in my head it goes in a different category. It’s a chosen companion or a confidant. You know, my mom growing up would always say look, I am here for you no matter what 100 or 100 of the time, rain or shine, tears or joy. You know your whole life, you can count on me, but I’m not here to be your friend or your buddy. And she was defining it more like as a buddy, like someone to hang out with, to tell all your gossipy stories, to like as a kid that was. She wanted to kind of make that distinction and so that really stuck in my mind and as I’ve grown as an adult I would say we’re friends for sure, but as a kid I knew like my mom was my mom and that’s different than like my peers, and so that’s where I got my definition of friend and so it’s a little bit different in our house.
0:04:48 – Speaker 2
Well, and now that I’m learning all these different definitions of friends from you and some of my other you know close friends that have been Sharing me with me what they think, what it means. Yeah, I think I’m learning for me in our home. I’m I’m really having to find that balance. You know it all comes back to that balance again. Because I don’t have a problem Raining down consequences. I don’t get upset when my kids are mad at me. I don’t.
0:05:13 – Speaker 3
Yeah, you’re a taskmaster, if they are.
0:05:16 – Speaker 2
Yes, laying down the lawn. You know, if you know, we, we do apps, we do social media, all that kind of stuff, but if there’s something inappropriate going on, they get it taken away. Of course, if they’re not doing their chores, they lose screen time after school. I mean, you know, I don’t have a problem because we got a raise.
Responsible adults, they need to know boundaries, they have to have clear guidelines. But at the same time, I also need to be very aware that when my kid has hit a stress level that isn’t at all time high there is sometimes I need to parent out of a little bit more grace and friendship. Mm-hmm, in those moments. And I think what I’m learning is, man, knowing your kid and knowing their temperature, yes, and knowing, like, when they’re, at that moment where they’re getting ready to explode because of finals or whatever, and this gets worse as they get older I’m telling you when they. Yeah, I mean the demands on our high school kids are astronomical and so learning that temperature to help them, I think it’s just key in all of this you know, it’s so funny is I think my son helped me understand our family definition even better, because I asked him.
Hold. Is he again? He’s only eight, he’s eight, he’s eight, and eight your old wisdom here, eight-year-old wisdom.
0:06:33 – Speaker 3
I said Tell me what you think a friend does. And he’s like well, friend is someone that you hang out with and Someone that you like the same kind of things. And I was like, okay, I said, well, as mommy a friend. And he’s like I think it would be cool if my mom were my friend or if my dad were my friend. I said so we’re not friends. And he was like no, he’s like. It’s just really confusing.
And the more that we talked through it, he said mom and dad is a special category that’s separate than friend. Oh, I like. And I was like what do you mean? He’s like well, friend is like you know, someone you hang out with, you share life with, you know, you laugh with whatever, and he’s like but mom is all that plus they have to give you rules, they have to give you regulations in your life, they help you become a better version of yourself, and so you can’t really call a mama friend, because it’s so much more than that. And I thought you know it’s kind of like a separate category like it’s its own thing.
And so maybe that’s where a lot of the confusion comes in, because I have met plan plenty of families over the years and my husband, as an educator, sees it all the time where parents, they, they want to be their kids friend because they are afraid to set those guidelines or to punish them. They are unwilling to parent because they’re like it’s just too hard, I don’t, I’d rather be their friend. It’s easier to be their friend. They want to be that party supplier or that fun house. They want to be seen as the fun parents and let’s also.
0:07:55 – Speaker 2
Let’s also be honest. We are getting older and we want to be cool and hit. We want to be cool, we have issues with that. Yes, we want to fit in as well, absolutely. We don’t want them to think that we’re old and buddy daddies.
0:08:08 – Speaker 3
Yes, absolutely, and so it’s. You know, defining that friendship for your family, I think is really what we have to get at here, because it may be that we’re getting hung up on the word, like we’re saying, and it’s really about defining the relationship in our family.
0:08:23 – Speaker 2
I so many times we get hung up on a word and get divided over it and then we start fighting over it as a country, yeah, when we really just need to take a minute and have some conversation with our family and define what it means for us. Right, because it looks different. And in this balance thing We’ve lost all sense of balance with everything almost. Yeah, there is a balance, there is middle ground. You know, I always say in my book, listening to the Holy Spirit and being in prayer and in the word daily, you, you, jesus keeps you sinned. Yes, he keeps you from going too far one way or the other way. He helps you stay, you know, focused in that center lane where you’re not like taking a word and being crazy with it, and I think this is what happens. I mean, I will be completely honest with you, kim. I have to be very careful when I’m speaking on stage, because if I say be your kid’s friend, all heck breaks loose. I wanted to say another word, but I don’t know if I’m allowed to say it.
0:09:26 – Speaker 3
Well, I’ll be in the back. Oh no, you don’t. You’re a girl. You’d be throwing like tomatoes at me. I would like no. And that’s not true, because we agree more than we disagree on this, but it’s just our definition.
0:09:39 – Speaker 2
And so what I have found and that’s why I use the term safe place in my book, because I feel like that’s a non-controversial term and then people understand what I’m saying and they don’t get thrown off by the negative connotation that some people give to being your kid’s friend.
0:09:53 – Speaker 3
Yes, does that make sense? It does. And you know, what comes to mind is really this song I am a friend of God. Yeah, yeah, I am a friend. Okay, we’ll stop because we’re not good. We’re not good at all. But that song comes to mind because if we put it in that context, not that we’re God in our family, but if we put it in that context that we wanna be friends with God and he wants to be friends with us, but that doesn’t mean we’re necessarily equal or buddies.
0:10:19 – Speaker 2
And that doesn’t mean that God does not give us restrictions and guidelines Right.
0:10:25 – Speaker 3
It gives us a great example of what friendship, biblical friendship within our family and as a parent, can look like. Setting those guidelines but still being a safe place, creating that environment where you are protected and there are rules and regulations, but because we love you, not to restrict you or shut you down.
0:10:45 – Speaker 2
That, I think, is the best definition of friendship, and it’s right there in the word and it’s so good that we model this. Again, we always talk about modeling this for our kids. Yes, but how we interact with our kids and we’re their friend or we’re their disciplinary, and so many conversations can stem from this, you know, as they’re figuring out teacher relationships and what is a boundary there and what is not okay, and even in their friend’s circles, all these conversations can flow from this, because we’re having specific conversation about well, how do we define this? What does this look like? And it’s changing. It’s gonna look differently in each situation. I’m having a hard time speaking this morning.
0:11:33 – Speaker 1
I think that song, like it’s in my head.
0:11:34 – Speaker 3
Now it’s the song I am a friend, and now I’m singing it.
0:11:37 – Speaker 2
I didn’t know you were gonna bring this song up.
0:11:40 – Speaker 3
There’s always a song right about to come out with every situation. I can’t help it.
0:11:44 – Speaker 2
Well, watch your knee. Don’t hurt your knee as you’re dancing in the studio today, Now that I’m getting old it’s very big possibility.
0:11:52 – Speaker 3
You know what’s funny about the whole friendship thing and what we’re talking about is we’ve spoken a lot about becoming a better parent. One of the ways to do that is to ask your kids like, hey, what could I do better as a mom or a dad? Same thing here. It was great. I was literally typing at my desk and I turned around because I homeschool, so my kiddo was there and he was working on a project about owls and I said, hey, you know, what do you think about friendship? What? How do you define friend? And we had this great conversation and even my littles joined in. Ask your kids. Sometimes they will surprise you with their wisdom or they’ll have a totally different definition than you on something, and it will help you come to an understanding that will help you parent better Kids are smarter than we think, and I love your eight year olds definition that it’s a special category.
0:12:40 – Speaker 2
I love to think of it like that. That way, we don’t have to put it in a bucket Again. We don’t have to choose.
0:12:46 – Speaker 3
This is about a balance, and you know what comes to mind with the special category and also how we said God models that friendship for us. Those two things we hope we know for sure, 100% with God. We hope, as a parent, are never ending, and that’s one thing my mom used to say friendships are gonna change, they’re gonna come and go, whether we want to or not, but I’m not going anywhere. She used to tell me that all the time, no matter what you do, what you say, I’m not going anywhere. And so I think mom and dad are in a special category.
0:13:15 – Speaker 2
I think that’s an excellent point, and when I think about being my kid’s friend. You’re right, friendships do change and I wanna be something never ending eternal.
So it is a special category. See, you’re eight year old. See what conversation can do in your home. It’s amazing, it’s a beautiful thing. If you just ask them, they have these amazing little perspectives. If you’re just now tuning in, this is nextTalk Radio at 10 am on AM 630,. The Word nextTalk Radio is listeners supported. Everything we do at our nonprofit to keep kids safe online is accomplished through your donations To support our organization. Go to nexttalkorg and click on give.
0:13:57 – Speaker 3
I think an important thing to remember here, too, is the conversation with your kids is great, but just like anything, you also need to have some self reflection here. Like I realize, a lot of my definition is based on the way that I was raised. And then a conversation with your spouse, cause you never wanna be coming from two different places. If your husband is like, there is no part of me that is friends with my kids, it’s children should be seen and not heard or disablet, whatever it is.
You need to get on the same page, and so that conversation needs to start first.
0:14:29 – Speaker 2
I think that’s a great point, because just you and me we grew up differently, thinking of this differently, and so our definition was different and we had to kind of talk that through. And now I totally see where you’re coming from and I see where you’re coming from and so that’s what needs to happen in your marriage with your spouse. You know, I piggybacked off what you did and I asked my 14 year old daughter- yes.
Because you got some great advice from your eight year old. So we were in the kitchen just hanging out. I was making dinner. I don’t know what she was doing, probably she likes to bake Like, I’ll turn around and my ice cube trays, my ice machine is broken right now. I was gonna say your what? Yeah, we’re old school. Right now Our ice machine is broken and I don’t know if my refrigerator’s gonna hold out, so I’m in that space of I’m not gonna pay for their replacement, so I’m using old school ice cube trays.
0:15:21 – Speaker 3
You are ghetto, so we can be, yeah, yeah ghetto fabulous.
0:15:25 – Speaker 2
But Dave Ramsey would be all about it.
0:15:27 – Speaker 3
He would be like well done good in faithful servants.
0:15:31 – Speaker 2
Yeah. So anyway, I think she had my ice cube trays filled with cheesecake homemade cheesecake bites. That’s what she does. She makes these and they are amazing. I bet she is like the best cook.
Anyway, okay, I’m getting sidetracked. So we were in the kitchen hanging out and I said, hey, tell me about what you think about a friend, and the same thing that your boy did. She defined it more on a peer level. You know, it’s somebody that I can confide in and I can talk to and I can trust and hang out with, and they get me and I get them, that kind of thing right. When I said to her then I took it a little another step and I said what do you think when I say I wanna be your friend, like mom wants to be your friend? And she said wait a minute, weird.
Yeah, I thought her answer was very eye opening for me. This is what she said to me. She said now, if there was a kid at school that was really bad, like cussing you know into some bad stuff, like all the time and they told me their mom was their friend, I would immediately think that mom is not setting up to guide my life like they’re trying to be cool in here, but she said now, if you’re talking about you and me being friends, she said I know how conservative you are about everything and how much you disciplined me and she was like we can be friends because you don’t have any issues with laying down the law when I needed to lay down, which I thought was very interesting. It is interesting Because, again, it speaks into how this is different for every family and it means different things to different people. It does. It was just eye opening to me Because, once again, I have all these thoughts about this and I asked her and I got a lot more information than I thought.
0:17:27 – Speaker 3
I would Well, and probably that’s the most important things that comes out of all of our shows and the basis of why we started nextTalk is creating an environment where communication is an on the go, all the time happening thing, about everything, yeah, and a lot of times people are thinking it’s just about negative, scary, intense new topics, social media. Sometimes it’s just about things that are every day, like friendship, and you can glean a whole bunch of information about your kiddo and your relationship and that helps you with the bigger, harder topics down the line.
0:17:58 – Speaker 2
Well, and Kim, we need to talk about. One of our core things at nextTalk is we talk about a safe place and we are serious about building that safe place. And sometimes people will contact us and be like I’m trying to build this safe place, but I need to take their phone away because this is and this is happening. Can I take their phone away? And I’m always a little shocked when I get those questions because I’m like heck, yeah, take the phone away.
Now, don’t be naive. They’re probably going to go to school and use somebody else’s phone. Like I want you to understand, they’re going to have communication with people, but when they’re in your home, you can say give me your phone. You’re not getting your phone tonight. Absolutely, do that. And so building a safe place is imperative. And so building a safe place is imperative. But really it’s about communicating with them. Why you’re disciplining, you know, and being able to say hey, my job is to keep you safe. This is not safe. What you’re doing right now, like this, is not okay. It goes back to that communication.
0:18:54 – Speaker 3
Well and if you think about the term safe, that can kind of help us define it Like you wouldn’t feel safe if you went to bed with your door wide open, your windows open, all the lights on. You wouldn’t feel safe because there’s not a protected barrier or guideline around you to give you the chance to rest and really be who you need to be. It’s the same thing. Kids crave guidelines, kids crave discipline. They’re never gonna say that to you, but we all know they do. And so to create that safe place, we have to have consistency and guidelines for your family, so that it is a safe place for them to open up and tell you anything.
0:19:30 – Speaker 2
We’re the same way, kim, as adults. You know I hate the word discipline, I hate thinking about exercising and eating right and whatever, but when I am doing it and I am being disciplined, I feel better than ever before, because there’s something about challenging yourself and, you know, bettering yourself, and that’s what this whole thing is. You know, constantly reevaluating our parenting views and everything, because it is different today. They are growing up in a world where everything is coming at them so fast and there’s all these opinions and all these debates, right, and if we cannot create a place where we have conversation, it’s going to be difficult to guide them, and so that safe place is essential. Now, whether you call that being a friend or not, I think what we wanted to do for this show. You can call it whatever you wanna call it, put it into a special category, I mean, do whatever you want with it.
0:20:30 – Speaker 3
Make up a word, as my husband says, I’m the bro we like. Made up words, make your, we do. Whatever you wanna call it, the point is to have the conversation with your kids Set the guidelines for your family. One of the things that we need to talk about here is if you are not doing that, whether you call it friend or not, your kids are gonna find that friendship connection somewhere else.
0:20:51 – Speaker 2
And they can find it online with a stranger 24 seven 24 seven.
0:20:55 – Speaker 3
So the important thing is not so much the word but creating that environment where your kids are safe, they know it’s expected and they can tell you everything, so that they’re not trying to find a friend in something or someone else. That’s not appropriate.
0:21:08 – Speaker 2
And I feel like I’ve already said this on the show. But I just wanna be very clear. Just because you’re creating a safe place and you wanna be their confidential person that they come to and ask their questions, I always say be your kids, google, even though we’re doing all that, it’s okay to have roles and restrictions and guidelines. You have to discipline also. It has to be a both in. Now, when I say discipline, I mean be calm about it. You know, before when I would discipline, before, when I was not trying to create a safe place and I didn’t really realize the value of it, I would just be crazy, mom, you know, and I would yell and I would just be like this is it, we’re done.
And now I discipline different. So I will say okay, sister, I love you, but this is not okay. Please give me your phone. You’re not gonna be on your phone the rest of the day because I’ve noticed that you’re on social media. You’re not regulating yourself, you’re in a bad mood. This is not healthy. Give me your phone and she’ll put it in my hand and I will say and I struggle with this too I love you, but my job is to teach you how to get through this. So it’s different. It’s different. I’m still disciplining, I’m still being the parent, I’m still being an authority figure, but my tone has changed with it. I’m communicating more with her about it. I’m explaining the why behind it.
0:22:32 – Speaker 3
And you know as being the mom with the youngest kids on the team. A few things that I do with my littles as a friend or talking about friendship, is I paint it positive.
I don’t want them to think that being the mom or the one who sets the guidelines is a negative thing. So I say we get to have fun with you, be your safe place and all those things, but I also get the privilege of helping you become the best person that you can be. And sometimes that means rules and regulations and restrictions, and they get that. They’re like, yeah, because you’re mom, and so that’s how we paint it in our house friendship.
0:23:06 – Speaker 2
You know, can I also piggyback off of that too? Set restrictions for yourself so if you’re not being a good listener and your phone’s a distraction for your family time, have that conversation with your family and be like guys listen. God has pointed out to me that I’ve been texting when we’re doing homework and I know I’m not engaged, so I’m gonna set a rule for myself as well, because when they see you setting rules for yourself, they are more apt to follow the rules that you set for them, because they’re like okay, we’re all learning this together.
0:23:33 – Speaker 3
And they love to help you stay on track.
0:23:36 – Speaker 2
Oh, they will help you with cannibal sister.
0:23:38 – Speaker 3
So be careful. Yes, the older they get too. I’m gonna exercise every day. Could you help me with that? They will help you. That was a mistake. Yeah, yes, mommy’s not gonna eat donuts for a month. That was a mistake the other day.
0:23:52 – Speaker 2
The other day my daughter walked in and the phone was laying on the bathroom and you know our no bathroom rule. She went crazy.
0:23:59 – Speaker 1
0:24:00 – Speaker 2
And I was like, okay, tone, I get that you’re pointing out that my phone should not be laying on my counter. You are right, but don’t have to end with me Just kind of like that Hold each other accountable, hold each other accountable and keep it positive, know when to draw the line and be consistent.
0:24:15 – Speaker 3
That’s so important, especially if you’re creating this friendship atmosphere. You have to be consistent and know when to draw the line and be honest with your kids when other families are different. This is a big one.
0:24:25 – Speaker 1
My kids are at that age, oh, a good one.
0:24:27 – Speaker 3
Where they will blurt out everything that they’re thinking, and sometimes it’s a judgmental thing because it’s different. And so we try to talk about that ahead of time. Every family’s different. It doesn’t mean it’s right or wrong, but here’s what our family does, and so be clear about that and let them know that other families get to choose what they do.
0:24:46 – Speaker 2
And again, you may not call it friendship. You may say I’m not gonna call it that, I’m gonna create a special category. We’re not here to tell you that. What we wanna do is help you understand, follow the Holy Spirit’s prompting on this, Be in the word. Know your kid more than anything. Know your kid. Know when they need more guidelines and more discipline, or know when they need you to crawl in bed with them and cry with them. You need to know your kid.
0:25:12 – Speaker 3
The definition of friendship for you and your family is key. That’s number one in our wrap up segment. You gotta establish what it means to be friends before you can decide to be one or not. Two have a conversation about what friendship does and does not mean and be clear and set guidelines. And three never choose friendship out of fear of parenting.
0:25:32 – Speaker 1
Thanks for joining us on nextTalk Radio with Mandy and Kim every Saturday at 10 am on AM 630, the Word. You are not alone trying to figure out how to parent in this digital world. We are here with practical solutions to help you. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Find our free video series and podcast at nexttalkorg. Are you ready for the nextTalk?
Transcribed by https://podium.page