Why you should not be your child's best friend
(Photo: Pexels)

The number one role of a parent is to be protector, model and teacher. And a large part of that teaching involves demonstrating good judgment and making smart decisions. Kids need to learn how to make the right choices in life. And the place they learn it best (or worst) is in the home. If a child never hears “no,” how is he going to handle himself in the classroom, the workplace or in society — places where rules exist?  Here is why your should never treat your child as your friend…

Parents need to be parents

The problem with parenting your children as though you’re equals is that you’re not, nor should you be, say experts.

There’s nothing wrong with being friendly with your children, enjoying time together and feeling close to them, but a parent’s job is to raise their children to be independent and responsible young adults. And to achieve this we need to set boundaries and say ‘no’ on occasion. Children need you to be an authority figure, not a friend.

Being respected is more important than being liked

As a parent trying to be super cool, you run the risk of losing their respect. Young people know when an adult is trying too hard to win their affection by being too nice or too cool. It’s also a bad idea for parents to be confused with being respected and being liked. Your children might like you but may not respect you. To be respected, you need to be seen as firmly in charge and setting fair, clear and consistent limits.

Your child does not need to know all the details

Friends share problems and intimate details of their lives, but when parents start to confide in their children, it can spell trouble. It’s not up to them to ensure that you are being treated well or that the finances are taken care of. If you burden your kids with that, they can start feeling responsible for you and this puts them under a lot of pressure. Children are impressionable, so when you choose to confide in them, you influence their viewpoint. A responsible parent will step back and allow his or her child to make their own decisions.

More than friends

Children need to develop autonomy, say experts. They need to have their own friends and they need to keep some secrets. It’s ok for parents not to know their child’s every intimate thought and what they talk about with their friends.

As parents you need to have your own friends. Making your child the centre of your social life or your only source of emotional support means you can become resentful of your children’s friends. But if you are the parent, no one can displace you say experts.



Text: Bauer/ Good Health/ Additional Reporting: Shenielle Aloysis