I have heard adults say "my parent said we could only be friends when I could legally drink." The meaning behind this saying is that some parents choose to strictly fill a parent position rather than a friend until the child is grown up. Many parents mostly agree with this because they believe that keeping the relationship more formal is better.
I definitely believe that all parents should maintain a parental role. I have always been blessed with amazing parents. They were strict and disciplinary when they had to be and also taught me how to have manners and respect. However, they were not just my parents, but they were also my friends.
Sometimes, I just needed a non-judging ear to listen to me. Warnings and lectures are not needed all the time. A patient smile and a warm hug can be just as helpful. When children grow up with parents who don't offer a safe feeling as friends do, those children won't see their parents as people who they can turn to.
Parents should always feel like a safety net. Children should feel like they have a place to go to when they're scared. That's why it's not bad parenting to be friends with your children. In fact, I think it's necessary sometimes. I can't tell you how many times I have ranted to my parent about drama or just wept silently in their arms. I did those things because my parents are also my friends. They were in the moments I needed them to be.
As everyone knows, it's tough growing up in this world. It's tough growing up, period. Friends make that part of life a whole lot easier. A lot of those times, those growing children find friends in their parents, and that is perfectly healthy and okay.
Of course, it's definitely unhealthy for parents to solely act as friends toward their children. Children must have that authoritative figure in their lives to tell them how to behave, act, and grow up into a successful adult, but they need more than that sometimes. They need to see their parents as a safety person, as a friend. It is not bad parenting to be friends with your children. It is essential.