Your child is not your friend! Parents need to understand that the amount of emotional versus functional requirements changes over time. As a child gets older, the parent needs to take on more of a functional role and less of an emotional one because the goal for older kids is to prepare them to survive in the world without you.
Act Like the Responsible Adult Your Child Needs
You can be friendly with your child. That’s a beautiful thing. But not at the expense of being their parent. The key is to have a responsible relationship with your child. Responsible adults don’t let their children skip their homework. They don’t let their children make excuses for failure. They don’t bad-mouth the teachers. That’s the type of relationship you need to have with your child.
How to Stop Being Your Child’s Confidant
If you’ve shared too much with your child and have not set the kind of limits they need, all in the name of being your child’s friend, you can change to become a more effective parent. It begins by explaining to your child what you’re going to talk about from now on.
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Leave Your Personal History Out of Your Parenting
Parents will often overcompensate for problems they remember in their own childhood. In reaction to how you were parented as a child, you form a way of parenting that’s not healthy for your child. Indeed, you may think your child will like you more if you’re his friend. You may think he’ll trust you more. But here’s the problem. He may not respect your authority as a result. He may not listen to the word “no” because you never used it with him or taught him how to deal with it.
Adults and Children Have Different Notions About Life
The truth is, children and adults have quite different notions about what they need to do. They have different notions about right and wrong. And they have different priorities. That’s appropriate and to be expected. But that’s not a recipe for friendship.
Don’t Share Too Much With Your Child
Kids have enough fear and anxiety of their own to deal with. Don’t use your child as a confidant to share your problems. Instead, use your spouse or an adult friend. That’s more effective and appropriate. So I think that you need to be a parent to your child and be loving, caring, and responsible. But find your confidants elsewhere.
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