By: Krystle Crossman
Having a child is like having a mini-you running around all of the time. They have personality traits that they learn from you. They start to act and speak like you. As they grow older they become more and more attached and they feel like you are their best friend. This is a line that you should draw. There is a very big difference between being a friend and being a parent and your children need to know the difference. Is it wrong to tell your child that you are not friends? It may hurt their feelings but in the long run it is much better for them and for you.
When you are friends with someone you laugh with them, cry with them, and tell them about your feelings. Now while you do this with your child, you still are not their friend. Friendships do not include punishment, authority, and discipline. This is parenting. It is important to be clear with your child that you are not in a friendship and that you are their parent. They need to know that there is a clear hierarchy and that they must respect the authority that you possess.
As children grow older they become sneakier. They go through phases where they will lie to their parents, sneak out, and try to deceive them. This is not how someone should be treating a friend. Making it clear that this is not what a friendship entails will help them with their personal relationships.
When you have a best friend you can tell them pretty much anything that is on your mind. You can tell them how you really feel about people and certain situations. You cannot do this with a child, especially if you are having some strong feelings about family members. What would that do to their perception of that family member? Friends also do not boss each other around and as a parent you need to be able to take charge over your child so that they have a respect for authority figures as they grow older.
You should always be open and honest with your child like a friend would be and help them in their time of need. However you should also make it clear that you are not their friend and that you are their parent. They need that line drawn. If you do not make it clear they will feel like they can get away with more and will respect you less as they grow older. Being a parent is a privilege and one that you do not want to waste trying as hard as you can to be friends with your child as opposed to their parent.