5 Reasons why you cannot be your Child’s best friend

thin line between letting your child know that you will be a parent first and then, his or her friend- Parenting resources by ZenParent

There is no doubt that parenting today is not the parenting that we were all used to growing up. Today, we take the time to explain a lot of things to our children. Even when we say NO, we believe it is important to tell our children why we think so. We allow a lot of things which were an absolute “No no” when we were growing up. Some of us were raised in such authoritarian households that we were even scared to hold a conversation with a parent. Times have changed. But certain fundamentals of parenting remain. However friendly we may be with our children, there is clearly no doubt that we should remain our child’s parent and not want to be their BFF- Here are the reasons why:

1. Children need Boundaries: Childhood is about exploring the world and figuring out the boundaries that we live with. Some of those boundaries can be pushed and some cannot. As a parent it is our job to ensure that those boundaries are in place. Children ultimately feel safe when boundaries are enforced. A friend’s role is just to provide unconditional support irrespective of whether a boundary exists or not.

2. Respect: You need to command respect from your children. While it is good to be a ‘friendly parent’, you cannot be a friend because your children need to respect you and your authority. You cannot effectively parent if your children do not respect you. Tolerating disrespectful behaviour, back talking and mouthing off does not pave way for a good parent child relationship.

3. Your confidante: Some parents believe that by treating their children as their peers they have empowered their children. However the problems of an adult should remain the problems of the adult. By sharing too much with your children, you are burdening them with your issues. They do not have the maturity to handle it. Your children are not your peers emotionally and should not be treated as such. Your money issues, boss issues, mother-in-law issues are best discussed with your own friends.

parents will be parents- Parenting resources by ZenParent

 

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4. Following rules: Children like to break rules. When your child breaks the school’s rules for example and gets pulled up for it, you cannot be their friend and criticize the school for being so uptight about it. You have to side with the school for upholding the rules. Give them the clear consistent message that rules should not be broken. Avoid the urge to be cool and pretend that it is no big deal.

5. Big Picture: Children very often cannot see the big picture. They are more about instant gratification and usually cannot envision the future. As a parent it is your job to provide them with that perspective and enforce things that they are unable to discipline themselves to do. Our experience gives us a perspective that children simply have not developed yet. They need to be told what to do in many situations where they could be conflicted. You, being a friend would be totally useless as a result, when they need an anchor to keep them grounded.

Your child will go through life making many friends- in fact, many best friends  depending on whether he/she is in primary, middle,high school or college. His/her personality will keep evolving and the kind of friends she makes in life will keep changing. However a parent is the constant factor in their life and it is our job to give them the grounding, the stability and the authority they need, as they progress through those stages. Wanting to be their best friend might give you a fake feeling of “being cool” but really would not help your child much in the long run.

Click here to know how to be a happier family together…

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