Eric Schaeffer
Theater director

Eric Schaeffer

Co-founder and artistic director for Signature Theatre in Arlington, which won the 2009 Regional Theatre Tony Award for sustained artistic excellence.

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Cutting the net

Q: Parents, a Wall Street Journal article says, have become cool. On TV, at least. After years of shows about youthful rebellion, teens are bonding with their fashionable and understanding parents. It might be so in real life, too. One study says 75 percent of teens get along with their parents. Is this necessarily a sign of a successful family? Or are some parents overplaying the "friend" card with their kids?

I can remember the days when hanging with their parents was uncool. Of course, that was a time before the Internet took off and cell phones were within reach 24 hours a day. The world is a different place with much stronger dangers and demons around the corner.

I don't know that having your parents as your best friends is actually a good thing in making a successful family. I have found in my travels that children who name one of their parents as their best friends usually end up being more immature and irresponsible in their own lives. They always know a safety net is waiting for them.

Just last week, I was talking with a friend in their thirties who told me they called their mom at least once a day sometimes twice. I thought she lived across the country only to find out she was 20 minutes away. I don't think situations like this are beneficial for either side.

Part of growing up and being responsible is making mistakes and growing on your own. People tend to think for themselves and wonder what would Mom or Dad do -- rather than "What should I do?" Having best friends who are 40 years older than you can result in not really living your life or not being daring enough to have the experiences one should experience.

The trick is to find a balance if your parent is your best friend. But I've never seen it succeed on either front. I think kids are better of living their life and seeking their parents for advice and guidance when needed. Otherwise, the security is never gone and the individual never really grows.

By Eric Schaeffer  |  May 10, 2010; 12:00 AM ET  | Category:  family and friends Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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