Parent vs. Friend
Parents listen up! You can be a parent or you can be a friend, but you can’t be both at the same time. Here’s the deal. I am a parent to three beautiful children. They range in age from 11-17 years old and believe it or not, I am not the perfect parent by any means. I have never been much of a helicopter parent, nor have I ever babied my children, nor have I ever given them everything they’ve ever wanted but I have given them lots of love and a non-judgmental ear. I have been there for my kids when they’ve needed me, but I don’t bail them out of stuff just because I can. This mama don’t play that way! If you do something wrong, you will suffer the consequences NO MATTER WHAT![clickandtweet handle=”” hashtag=”” related=”” layout=”” position=””]There comes a time that you must decide if you want to become their friend or be their parent.[/clickandtweet] You can be both but, you have to find the balance between the two and that’s the hard part. I think I have pretty much mastered that balance beam! I always wanted an open relationship with my kids and you know what, that wasn’t something that just happened. I created that by always being physically and emotionally there for them. I created my relationship with my kids because it was important to me and they are even more important. I hold them accountable for their behaviors and their actions. If I see a problem starting at school with regards to grades, my husband and I make the necessary adjustments to get that problem resolved. I’m not afraid of having my kids “hate” me. In fact, if they aren’t yelling that they “hate” me at one time or another, I’m not doing a good enough job. They aren’t supposed to be my friend, and I am not supposed to be theirs.
Here’s an example. My son (back in 5th grade) forgot to have me sign a paper for school. He got scared that I, or his teacher would get mad at him, so he signed my name. Now we all know that a 5th grade signature in cursive is easily detected as a forgery! And that is exactly what happened. The teacher saw it, called me and told me that unfortunately that goes against the school rules and he would need to have a detention and it would go on his permanent school record. Now, I could have put up a big stink about it and fought for him, but I didn’t. He had to learn that there were consequences to his actions. I held him accountable as did his teacher. He cried and put up a fit, was mad at himself and pouted for two days and was grounded for a week, but he paid his dues and that was that. Will he ever do that again, probably not because he knows better. That is being a parent. And, by the way, it is in fact on his school record and I have no idea how long that is visible but it’s been 3 years! Can you imagine seeing that on a college transcript “crime committed: forgery”? I hope he can get into the community college with that on his record! At the time it was a big deal, now it’s more or less laughable, but the lesson was learned so I’d say that was a win for mom!
Here’s another example. My daughter was going out with a new friend. I asked her to be home at a certain time and was only allowed to go to this one friends house. If she was going somewhere else, she was to let me know. I found out by using the Find My iPhone app that she was’t where she said she was going to be. When she came home I asked her what she did and where she went. She blatantly lied to me and said she was just at her friends house. I showed her the screenshot of where she was….can you say…BUSTED! That being her first offense, I had a talk with her and explained to her the importance of me knowing where she was and why I wanted to know this information. It was followed up with an “I love you” and now she texts me when ever she goes anywhere or if her plans change and she’s 17. It’s called, rules. It’s also called being a parent.
If my child is misbehaving I will not sugar coat it or make what they are doing ok. I will not turn a blind eye. I will not say, “not my kid”. If they are disrespectful towards adults, that is not ok and they will deal with those consequences. I am not physically or verbally abusive to my kids. I don’t call them names and I don’t make them feel badly about themselves, but what I will do is correct them when they need to be corrected and I will talk to them with an authoritative, yet loving voice. They know when mom is being a parent and when mom is being a friend.
You also have to distinguish what a friend is. If you’re child is talking to you like they talk to their friends (sarcastic, rude, disrespectful, or even swearing), that is not ok and it’s time for you to get your parenting pants on and start parenting. There is no reason for a child to talk back to an adult or misbehave just because mom or dad will stick up for them. By turning a blind eye to that behavior because you want them to like you is wrong on so many levels. I’m not just talking about words, but actions as well. You can’t have a child steal something or do physical damage to a public area and not have consequences to those actions. You cannot use the “oh, no, not my child” phrase. That is when you cannot be a friend. And let’s be honest, you know your kids aren’t always good, no child is, not even mine. It’s time you get real and just admit that your kid can be somewhat of a brat too. Stop creating an entitled child and let them pay for the wrongs they’ve done. It is NOT going to kill them to be held responsible for their own actions. By mommy and daddy coming to the rescue all the time, what are they learning? They are learning that they can get away with stuff and soon, they won’t care what they do or worse, who they hurt. Don’t even get me started on “everyone gets a trophy”![tweetthis twitter_handles=”@verifiedmom” display_mode=”box”]Parents listen! You can be a parent or you can be a friend, but you can’t be both at the same time[/tweetthis]
I digress….An example of being a friend. My daughter had a problem with a friend and came to me asking for advice. She wanted to talk about her problems and I just let her talk. I did’t try to fix her problem by going to the other parent or telling her what to do. I simply said what I would do if I were her and let her know that what ever she decided to do, I would have her back. I didn’t try to control the situation by “parenting” her. I allowed her to weigh the pros and cons and she was forced to come up with a way for her to work through her problem on her own. I was at that time, being her friend.
Examples of being a friend. Going to the mall, shopping from store to store, going for lunch, laughing, watching a movie, going to a sporting event, spending time together being totally 110% open and honest with each other during conversations. That is being a friend. Bailing them out of their wrong-doing…NOT their friend…that would be their enabler. Don’t be their enabler. It won’t end well.
You can be a parent and you can be a friend, but being both at the same time is really hard. You don’t want to talk to your tween or teen in a way that makes them become defensive because you’ll get no where fast! You have to find that voice and whatever method it takes to get them to open up about their life. Do not ask yes or no questions. That’s just a recipe for disaster. You child needs to know the boundaries and it is up to you to set them and more importantly, stick to them. You have to understand that you are a parent first and a friend second, don’t get them mixed up!
Tell me, parent vs. friend: Do you think you’re a friend or a parent, or do you have a good handle on how to be both?