Becoming a parent is a scary thing. This tiny little creature, this blank slate, is your responsibility to rear, educate, and mold into a human being that is compassionate, intelligent, and sociable. That’s a big responsibility to bear when you come from a family with parents that haven’t exactly succeeded with staying together or staying in touch.
The fears and doubts that creep into your mind when you’re a new parent prompts you to start envisioning your child’s life with you, and your plans as a parent. Will you be strict? Will you be just like your mother? Will you try hard not be your father? Will you create an open environment?
Teen movies always have these extreme views of parents: the dictator, and the trying-so-hard-to-be-cool parent that the primary characters ignore. In the past, a strict parent has been an accepted norm. But, nowadays, there are more and more jokes and skits about parents becoming a lot more lenient with your children. Too lenient. To the point that their kids call them by their first names, drink in front of them, and say disrespectful things.
The frequency with which these types of joke occur make you wonder if this is the new norm. You always find articles and infographics about the negative effects of old parenting methods have on children. Does this mean that kids are better off when you act like their best friend?
Parents vs Best friends
It’s common for you to see people arguing now about whether or not being your child’s best friend is better. People share their stories and swear that it’s much better having their parents as their best friends. They have claimed to being able to communicate with their parents better and have been able to form a strong relationship where meeting up with them makes them feel excited instead of obligated and reluctant.
These people are all working adults, some are even parents. Of course they understand their parents better, they’re older now. They’re not teenagers living under their parent’s roof with a curfew, allowance, and chores.
It shouldn’t be an argument of which persona is better. You should be able to fulfill both; and, in the first few years of your kid’s life, he/she is just going to have to deal with “hating you” and that’s okay. And I’ll give you five very good reasons as to why.
- You know better. You’re older, this child is your responsibility to educate and mold because this child knows basically next to nothing about the realities of life. Because of your years of knowledge and experience, you can easily anticipate what could happen to your child if you let him/ her do or have certain things.
- This will teach your child about respect and boundaries. Parents who are best friends are reported to be honest and open with their children about everything in their lives. Your adult daughter can deal with hearing about your past indiscretions as a teenager. But you tell your teenager things like that and she will feel entitled to knowing other things in your life that she shouldn’t be hearing yet. There’s also a huge possibility that she will think that it’s okay for her to do similar indiscretions just because you two had a laugh about your stories from before.
- You won’t be in charge anymore. And you need to be in charge. Because if you’re not in charge, that means your kid doesn’t have to listen to you. And no matter what your competent fifteen year old says, he still needs your guidance; guidance which needs to be heeded.
- It will be difficult for your child to separate from you when the time comes. No parent enjoys being separated from their children. But there will come a time when they will need to. They need to learn how to be independent and how to get along with people in order to be a functioning part of society. Being their best friend will make it harder for them to leave and get along with other people.
- It’s okay for them to hate you. Parents are so scared of their kids getting mad at them these days that they just let their kids do what they want to do. This shouldn’t be the case. If you’re enforcing rules, consequences, chores, schedules, and other types of parenting stuff, it doesn’t matter if your kid disapproves. If you know that these practices will reduce the risk of your sons and daughters turning into insensitive and selfish jerks, then they don’t need to like you right now. Because they will be thankful in the future.
If you respect your child and parent them the best that you can, with authority, a calm demeanor, and kind words, you don’t even have to try later on in life. Your kids will understand and come back home with a light heart and a huge urge to reconnect and apologize for being such stubborn teenagers. It’s then that your relationship will effortlessly shift into a great friendship.
Elaine Ramos is a huge Potterhead, audiophile, and sweater knitter. She dreams of soon being able to produce enough content that promotes the removal of the stigma to addiction in the hopes of helping patients receive treatment better and easier. She is also a regular contributor for http://www.addictions.com.