Can best friends offer tough love?

In a recent article published by the Minneapolis-St. Paul Start-Tribune about adult children boomeranging home after college,Barbara Risman, head of sociology at the University of Illinois at Chicago and an executive officer of the Council on Contemporary Families said, “A high percentage of college freshmen say one of their parents is their best friend.”

On the surface, this may seem great — parents and kids getting along, nurturing and supporting each other. But we are not supposed to be our children’s best friends. Parents are parents, and a parent’s role is to help their children become independent. How can they achieve independence from their parents if they view their parents as best friends? And if these students do return home to live after graduating, how can the parents possibly offer the tough love that can sometimes be required to help a new grad get on their feet?

It’s great to get along with your adult kids, and offer emotional support when you can. But remember — ideally, you want your child to get to a stage where they don’t need you anymore. Make sure you encourage them to establish meaningful relationships with their peers.