by Jennifer Shakeel
Parenting is hard enough, and trying to be a friend to your child at the same time can be like walking a tight rope. However, the two don't have to be mutually exclusive. As long as you are a parent first, it is possible to be friends with your child. As long as your children stay within the boundaries that are set for them, you can learn to be more than parents to your kids. The first step to being your child’s friend is to determine what the phrase “being friends” means. This is the initial key to become friends with your child while maintaining your parental status with them. There must be boundaries set and your child needs to understand them so that your relationship with them can be an enjoyable one for the both of you. You as a parent also need to respect your child in many ways.
Your child is looking for advice and guidance from you and you are, in a way, their role model whether they want to admit it or not. The key to being a parent and a friend is to know that it’s OK to say no. Parents cannot be afraid to say it to their kid. It is important to know where to draw the line and know where to be a parent and not to please them because you do not want them upset or angry at you.
How to Be a Friend to Your Child
Here are a few tips that can help you to become friends with your child:
- The first step is to establish with your child that you can be friends, but you are the parent first. I have seen many parents try to be friends with their children and completely lose sense of the fact that they are the parent. While being friends with your child is wonderful, you need to remember that they have plenty of friends at school they also need you to be their parent. Being a parent should always come first then being there friend.
- Respect levels should be established as well. Set rules, these rules need to include how late they can stay out, know who they are with and dating, where they are going and what parties they will be going to, and things of that nature. They know you are their provider and the one who protects them and they should respect that.
- It’s not as simple as it seems to be your kid’s friend. You want to be their friend without them knowing that you are trying. Try not to spoil them or get too much into their business as this can push them away from you.
- Show your child love in a constant flow but not to the point where they are drowning in it. Try not to get too deep into their personal lives, friends, or every move of every day that they make. Doing this will be a step in the right direction for maintaining a friendship with your child.
There Will be Consequences
If rules and boundaries are not set, the child can have a pretty disastrous childhood. We all know this we have been friends with somebody whose mom or dad was more interested in being there friend then their parent. Children need rules, and even if you are their friend they need to understand that breaking the rules has its consequences because in the end you are their mom or dad.
It's a fine line that parents walk I try to be friends with their children, it's also a fine line the children walk with her parents are trying to be their friends.
Jennifer Shakeel is a writer and former nurse with over 12 years medical experience. As a mother of two incredible children with one on the way, I am here to share with you what I have learned about parenting and the joys and changes that take place during pregnancy. Together we can laugh and cry and rejoice in the fact that we are moms!
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