There is serenity in realizing that when it comes to your children, you are supposed to be a parent, not a friend.
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 10 to 21. 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 of my children. With the role of parent comes a whole 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?” 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. I must equip them with things that will allow them to stand on their own in the world. I must ready them to be successful and productive. The following are some of 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 an 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 a parent is a major and important one. It is interesting because it is one of the few jobs that require you tp 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.
Take a moment now to look at the relationship between yourself and your children. If you think you are friends, how does that relationship compare to that of your adult friends? Do you have any other friends that are the same age as your children? Do you have any other friends who are at the same educational level as your children? Do you share common experiences and histories with your children?
Once you answer those questions, honestly decide if you and your children are actually friends. If you are not friends, what is your relationship?
So the question for you this serene day is how do you describe the relationship between you and your children?