Will follow this list up with a how to. 😊
  1. I can say with confidence that none of my friends are as close to their family as I am with mine (knockonwood).
  2. This is not to say my family and I don't get on each other's nerves, just that we are the most important things in each other's lives.
  3. I realized in high school that the reason for this closeness is communication.
  4. From the time my brother and I were kids, my parents made sure home was a safe zone.
  5. My mom established a sort of motto. She would rather hear the bad things from us than from anybody else. So, if someone said my brother or I did something wrong, she could always say, "They already told me." Calling my parents wasn't leverage.
  6. She paid attention to every stupid little story I had to share (because let's be real, my brother didn't share as many stupid stories).
  7. Now, I know that if she hadn't listened to my 8-year-old classroom politics or my 13-year-old boy stories, I wouldn't tell her half of what I do today.
  8. My parents have never turned us away from busting into their room, no matter what hour of the night, to talk. This is really important because sometimes, the night can be the most haunting or thought-consuming.
  9. It's not enough to tell an 18-year-old child you want to have an open dialogue starting now. That dialogue needs to have been embedded in that child's system from when they were little.
  10. They need to know they can trust you. They need to know you care, no matter how small the thought they want to express.
  11. Your children are not beneath you. They are not dumb. They may even give you insight you didn't expect. Accept it. You can learn from them as much as you teach them.
  12. It's disheartening that I know people whose parents didn't want to hear them until they became adults, which was too late.
  13. Start when they're young. Listen. Laugh. Cry.
  14. You can be both a friend and a parent. I promise.