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Are you just a parent or your child’s friend?

Let’s talk about one of the ingredients highlighted here-friendship. Why do we say to our children, “I’m not your friend?  I’m your parent.  Shouldn’t the…

Let’s talk about one of the ingredients highlighted here-friendship. Why do we say to our children, “I’m not your friend?  I’m your parent.  Shouldn’t the parents be the best friend their child/children should have?

There are many ingredients mixed into parenting, and one is being your child/children friend.  When in trouble, a friend is probably the first person your child/children will look to for help.  Who do you want that person to be?  Do you want him or her to be someone who will give them the wrong advice that you know nothing about until  it is too late?  Or would rather your child have enough confidence in your relationship and comes to you without fear of rejection or worse?

Think about what you would do if your child came home from school crying because the “other,” best friend has said the same thing? “I’m not your friend, (and added) and I don’t want to play with you anymore.”  As a parent/friend, you would probably be wrapping your son or daughter in your arms and trying to reassure him or her that everything is going to be alright.

Clearly, you are your child/children’s friend. Therefore, as part of your child/children’s healthy upbringing, it is important to stop telling them that you are not their friend. And yes– try thinking along the lines of being best friends with your child.  

Kate Hufstetler a writer says “Best friends are people who look out for the best interest of each other. Best friends have a special tolerance for each other. Best friends set aside time to truly know each other and how each other thinks and feels. Best friends stand up for one another, for their rights, their feelings, their health and their needs. Best friends look forward to more time together. Best friends cherish each other dearly. Best friends also speak the truth and help guide each other along the journey of life together.” Think of being this to your child and see what they will grow up to be their child’s friend too. And with this, a society will be a better place.

Therefore, they will more likely come to you when they have a problem or need advice. You will need to let go of the belief that children should not speak until spoken to.

The next thing is to LISTEN to children. Too many grown-ups have a bad habit of dismissing children especially when they are talking to let’s say friends. There is absolutely no way of knowing that whatever it is that child is trying to tell you is not of the utmost importance. Suppose the child was trying to inform you that the house was on fire or that some other damaging event was about to or could take place? Grown-ups need to realize that it’s not every time a child opens their mouth that they are lying or about to get on your nerves. Listening to children is of vital importance to a child’s well-being. I know parents do not like to look forward to their children becoming sexually active. However, let us face it, it is a part of life, therefore, you need to learn how to deal with it in a manner that will be comfortable for both of you.