Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Being a parent and a friend

I have heard many parents says, "I am not my child's friend, and I am their parent." I take a different approach. First, I am my child's parents. Next, I am their friend.
Okay, so what do I mean by that. When I say I am first a parent, I mean that parenting is my priority. A good parent works hard to help raise a child in the manner they should go. A good parent provides the wisdom and guidance necessary to help a child grow into a healthy and happy adult. A good parent understands that there are times to be a hard ass and times to be soft and understanding.
A friend is someone who is always there for you. A friend can be trusted. We go to our friends to discuss personal matters, and help us work through our problems. When we have messed up and need someone to turn to, we call on our friends.
I have met parents that are proud to just be a parent to a child. They dress, house, and feed their children. They give them chores and make sure they do their homework. That's where the relationship ends. This is a mistake. Being a friend is part of being a parent, but it never trumps being a parent.
If your child is messing up, you don't just do what friends do and carry on. As a parent you take corrective action to help your child get back on the right path. If your child's teacher calls you in for a conference because your child has behavior problems in school, it is time to take on that parent roll and drop the friend part. On the same token, if your child is maybe having a hard time with relationships, you should be their friend to listen to them. It is a delicate balance that probably nobody gets exactly right.