If you have good friends who are a big part of your life, you’re not the only one who is lucky. Your kids are, too. Having a group of wonderful adults around them as they grow up can be a very, very good thing.
I’ve read a lot of posts online recently from moms with kids who have a group of family friends who love their children as if they are their own. It got me thinking about my relationship with my friends’ kiddos.
There are some kids who call me Aunt that I’m not actually related to. In my heart I am. But no test is going to show that we share a drop of DNA. Personally, I think that makes my place in their lives even more special.
I’m thrilled that I am an important part of their family. If you ask them why they want me to treat their kids as my own, I know what they’ll tell you. They want to know that I’ll always be there for their kiddos.
My Good Friends Count On Me To…
Build a loving, healthy, reliable relationship with their kids. I help watch over them, cuddle them when they want me to, and heap praise on them when they do something they’re proud of. I’m always in a seat at their T-ball games, their recitals, and when they’re sick, I show up with Gatorade and popsicles.
Gently correct their behavior in the absence of their parents. I don’t yell, or punish, mind you. But, I do direct them the way their parents would. If their kiddo is being mean to another child or is being disrespectful of someone, I step in if need be. I know my friends well enough to know what their morals are and what they expect of their children. They want me to make sure their kids are behaving the way they should.
Encourage and help their kids. I’m pleased as punch to help my friends’ kids with their homework, listen to them practice piano, and work on learning how to tie their shoes. I don’t see it as my job. I see it as my honor.
Protect them. If someone even comes close to bullying or being hateful to one of my chosen nieces or nephews, this Aunt will turn into a mama bear. I’ll do whatever I need to do to keep them safe both physically and emotionally.
Give the right kind of advice. Sometimes kids don’t want to listen to what their parents think. A mom can tell her daughter all the reasons she might want to steer clear of a certain boy, and her daughter might roll her eyes. We all know how that works.
If I say exactly the same thing, I have a better chance of getting through a stubborn teenager’s head. I’m Auntie. I’m way cooler than Mom.
Be there at 2 in the morning when their teenagers need help. If and when they find themselves in a situation they don’t know how to get out of, they have my number.
My friends know their kids likely won’t call them because they’ll be too afraid. I’ll show up to provide a safe way home and I’ll hold their hands while they explain to Mom and Dad what happened.
I’m so lucky my good friends love me and trust me with their kids.
What kind of relationship do you have with your friends’ kids? Are you their extended family? I’m interested in how you feel about this subject, so don’t click away without telling me in the comments.
And PS: thanks to all the bloggers who have written about this topic. It’s been good to see how other people think about the role friends have in the lives of children.