The raging debate has been plaguing parents since the last couple of decades, Parent or Friend: Can You Be Both to Your Child? And there is no right answer. The question is when to be a friend and when to put your foot down. It is a fine line to traverse and confounds most parents. Every child is different and has to be treated differently. The first job of a parent is to understand the needs of their child.
Should parents be friends with their kids?
YES absolutely YES! The parent is a friend, confidant, guide, mentor, philosopher, and parent too. The younger child needs a figure of authority. The child learns something new every day and has no concept of right and wrong. The parent steps in to colour the views of the child and gently guide her through the formative years. Authority is required to get a routine in place. If you are permissive in this stage, you might end up with a child who does not respect your boundaries at all.
It is also important to talk to your child as a friend. She should be able to communicate with you freely as a friend. The child has a lot of questions as she is naturally curious. As a parent, understand her fears and apprehensions and soothe her fears. The relationship needs to be one where respect is the reason to listen to you, not fear. Most child psychologists will pass on these Parenting Tips. The open communication without fear will be the gateway to effective parenting.
Parents as friends
As your child enters the preteen years, the need to be a friend before a parent is more pronounced. It is the phase in your child’s life when rebellion is bound to happen. Children have a clouded identity at this time. The rapid changes in the body and mind can create confusion. Teenagers need a non-judgemental and caring ear that will listen to them.
This is where parents should step in as friends. If you have been parenting effectively, your teenager will have a sense of right and wrong. She will be confident and self-assured. Peer pressure can make children do things they would never do in the ordinary scheme of things.
Parents can be the thread that holds their fragile emotions together. If a child can discuss everything with their parent, the conflicts are resolved earlier. Parents no longer have to keep tabs on their children aggressively as the children will be amenable to share their day with them. If you now that your child will not do anything that might harm her, you will also rest easier.
All teenagers will experiment with stuff that is generally out of bounds for them. If they are comfortable telling you about a crush, you might be able to guide the conversation towards safe sex and the perils of casual hook-ups. The teenager’s relationships will mostly be stable and enriching emotionally.
Parents have to keep the balance in place. Be a parent when needed, and a friend when the situation demands it. The combination should be the best way to gain your child’s trust and respect. Your child will be a better adjusted and balanced person, thanks to you!