We get it. Of course a parent will dream of being their child’s best friend. It sounds absolutely heavenly. But be warned that you might not like it if you get what you yearn for.
The idea of parents being friends with their children isn’t new. The results, however, show that it is NOT a good idea. Period! However, to take care of any doubt, let’s also understand the definition of a friend here! We’re not talking about the dictionary’s definition, but your own definition of a friend.
You should keep in mind that choosing not to be your child’s best friend doesn’t mean that you’re not being supportive or that you’re choosing just to be an enforcer of rules. You’re making the choice to teach your kids rules, boundaries and expectations.
Law and order
Kids will be kids and parents must be parents. There are many times when your lovely bundle of joy will cause havoc without realizing what they’re doing, that’s when you’ll have to take charge and bring order. You have to be the parent your child needs, not the one he or she wants. Even if it means being disliked for some time because you set up some rules. Kids will create chaos; it’s your job to maintain the peace.
If you want your kids to grow up as law respecting citizens you’ll have to dish out punishment when required.
The need of a strong role model
Children need guidance. They require a strong person who’ll tell them what’s right and what’s wrong. If you’re the best friend, they get confused between your roles of convenience. You need to explain the boundaries.
They have to respect you enough to take your words seriously when you’re teaching about respect, conviction and perseverance. If you’re careless in your interactions with them all the time, your message might not get through.
Friendship is for equals
When you become your kid’s best friend what you’ll be implying is that you are their “partner in crime”. You do not get to scold them even when they’ve become very naughty because BFFs don’t do that. That is why you cannot be equal to your kids.
You need to be in a higher position when you have to lay down rules and enforce discipline. Keep in mind that you as a parent need to have the last word when there’s an argument. You lose this when you start becoming too friendly with your kid.
You’re supposed to be caring for their well-being, who teaches them right and wrong and to correct them. When you become BFF, you lose the authority and compromise on a few non-negotiable rules, which might prove costly in the long run.
Let them be themselves
Allowing your children the freedom to make their own choices is one of the greatest gifts a parent can give. You should not influence your children when they’re making choices.
There are many times when being too close to parents hinders a child’s sense of choice. They can become too dependent on you and will not learn the value of friends or peer group. Constant support and attention can also cause a lot of future problems as the child will not be able to deal without constant admiration, advice or attention. They should have the confidence to make mistakes and learn from them and be able to take their decisions without having some sort of ready-made advice.
Your job as a parent is to prepare your children for life. To be able to talk with your children about real issues, with the intention of teaching them life-skills so they, and you, will feel confident that when they go out on their own, they will be best able to make the safest and smartest choices.
Friends do not have this type of relationship. Good parents do.