Discipline your children, and they will give you peace; they will bring you the delights you desire. Proverbs 29:17
It’s important to a parent who sets boundaries, not worrying about whether or not it will upset your child. Be a parent who sticks to your guns when you’ve set a limit and you know it’s right. Whether it feels like it or not, this is one of the best ways to show your child that you love them.
But there’s another answer to that question. And that is this: It’s also important to be a friend.
I know that it’s been said that you are not your child’s friend, you are their parent. I understand the sentiment behind that, but I also think that there is a time for everything and that means there is a time and a place to be a parent, and a time and a place to be a friend to your child.
When to be a parent…when to be a friend
Being a parent who is a friend means that you listen, ask questions, show empathy, and show interest in your child. Being a parent who is a friend means that you laugh, get silly, play games, and sometimes break your own rules with your kids.
There is an appropriate time to be a parent and there is an appropriate time to be a friend.
Be a parent when your child needs guidance, discipline, and protection. Be a friend when your child needs someone to listen, someone to pay attention to them, someone to laugh with.
My parents were great parents, but I’m sad to say that they weren’t real good at being friends with us kids. I think that had a lot to do with the society at the time which was all about stricter parenting. But my husband and I chose to do things a bit differently. We wanted to be a parent and a friend to our kids.
It’s a tricky balance to keep. And you will face situations where you must ask yourself, what does my child need in this moment? A parent or a friend?
Parents who are strong on parenting, but week on friending, could end up with well-behaved children who grow up to be great adults, but who do not develop a solid adult friendship with their parents. Parents who are strong on friending, but week on parenting could end up with undisciplined adult children who may or may not be good friends with mom and dad.
How do you keep that balance in your home, or do you?
If you’d like to talk about how you can keep that balance in your home, I’m a parenting coach and I’d love to give you a free introductory coaching session. Learn more here.