One of the great things about being a parent is the close bond we form with our children. But what happens when you start behaving more like a best friend than a parent? Parenting experts explain the potential consequences, and how to get the balance right.
The problem with parenting your children as though you’re equals is that you’re not, nor should you be, says clinical psychologist Sally-Anne McCormack. “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,” says Sally-Anne.
Your child also needs you to have your own healthy friendships. Making your child the centre of your social life, or your only source of emotional support, means you can become resentful of their friends. “But if you’re the parent, no one can displace you,” says Sally-Anne. “An adult needs to find adult friends, and a child needs to have child friends. We all interact happily in the world that way.”
Instead of going out of your way to be your little one’s best friend, here are better ways to be close to your child.
TEXT: Patricia Flokis/Bauer Syndication