Parenting is a tough job, & trying to be a friend to your child at the same time can be a difficult task. However, playing a dual role of a parent & a friend need not be kept separate. As long as you create the trust between your child & you, & make them aware of the boundaries & limits, its manageable.
Sometimes, they will require you to be a parent, asking you for advice, coming to you for sympathy & a shoulder to cry on. You as a parent also need to respect your child in many ways. Your child is looking for advice and guidance from you and you are, in a way, their role model whether they want to admit it or not. Parents these days are afraid to refuse the demands of their kids but its OK to say no sometimes. Giving in to your child's wishes may lead to extreme stubbornness in latter years. Hence, it is important to know where to draw the line and know where to be a parent and not to please them because you do not want them upset or angry at you.
My parents have always been more of friends to me. Being an only child, I'm closer to them than anyone else & am used to confiding in them. The respect is mutual & they've always trusted me & encouraged me to follow my dreams. For most parents in India, letting go of their kids at some stage in life is tough. They feel their child is still young & cannot fend for himself/herself. But here, parents have to play the friend card. "Nobody is in charge, you have to take care of yourself & we are always here to back you up" should be the philosophy.
Warmth, affection, companionship along with some limits are the pillars of buddy parenting. I've seen so many of my colleagues & friends playing this role so beautifully. Not hesitating to race their kid on a morning jog or making that sand castle at the beach but when it comes to saying no, they do it so firmly that the child understands that the demand cannot be met & there is no use throwing a tantrum. Hats off to such wonderful parents!
I used to love Gilmore Girls, an American sitcom which portrays a mother-daughter relationship. They're so close that they almost are like sisters & best friends.
A beautiful initiative on this style of parenting has been taken by Kellogg's Chocos. Brand Chocos helps in creating ‘Khushi Ke Pal’ between a parent and child. This philosophy is articulated as ‘Khuljaye Bachpan’. ‘Khuljaye bachpan’ is about empowerment, not being authoritative and thus letting kids be kids. Creating a happy & secure childhood. You can read more about this initiative on https://www.facebook.com/mychocos.