There is serenity in realizing that you are supposed to be a parent, not a friend.
This January we will take a new look at ways of looking at the parent/child relationship. In upcoming weeks we will look at:
- parents as stewards
- raising children to leave and cleave
- what will your kids shrink say later
This week, the serene day article is all about the fact that you are not your children’s friend, you are a parent, so act like it.
Parenting techniques, like fashions, seem to flow in circles. Ideas that were once radical and cutting edge become dated and fall out of use, only to be seen as new again years later. In my recent travels, I have come across some parents who tell me I should treat my children as equals and as my friends. I don’t understand how that idea works. My children range in age from 5 to 16. I do not have any friends in that age range. I have a husband, children, a mortgage, bills, a business, a blog and am looking for more income. Outside of being related, there is nothing that would lead me to be friends with people I would meet in this age range.
Beyond all that, I am the parent to my children. With the role of parent comes a whole different set of goals and responsibilities. When children are poorly behaved and get hooked on drugs, everyone wants to know where the parents were. No one says, “What kind of friends raised those kids?” No one indeed. Instead, people rightfully wonder what were the parents doing when the children were running around using drugs.
As a parent, it is my job to help my children go from childhood to adulthood with a set of morals, values, talents and skills that will allow them to stand on their own in the world and be successful and productive. The following are among the differences in the roles and characteristics of parent and friend:
- status is equal between participants
- no party is responsible for the other
- no party has absolute veto over the actions of the other
- there is an imbalance of power with the parent being in the power position
- the parent is legally and morally responsible for the child
- the parent has absolute veto power of the actions of the child
The role of parent is a major and important one. It is interesting because it is one of the few jobs you have almost no qualifications beyond biology to get. That does not change the fact that the role of parent is one of the most important roles a person ever plays. The relationship between parent and child is of crucial importance in each home, and in the world at large. So the question for you this serene day is how do you describe the relationship between you and your children?