Wednesday, September 06, 2006

I'm your parent, not your friend

A conversation started just before the underage drinking prevention group meeting I attended about a week ago that reinforced an opinion I hold strongly. Two of the folks were talking about talks that they had had with their kids: that they were the parent and not a “friend”. I had a similar talk with my 16 year old not too long ago.

I think we do our kids a disservice when we, as parents, try so hard to be friends with our kids. That is what they have friends for. I am there to lay down the law, teach moral and proper social behavior and to punish when they stray from the rules. I believe this is how to model, mold and develop an individual who will grow up to be a “good” part of the community and will have the best chance possible to grow up and grow old.

That’s not to say we can have fun together and laugh and enjoy being together. That’s part of being a parent (and a family), too. But, at the same time, I am not their equal. I am the parent and they are the kid.

How can you tell your child not to make bad choices and not to take chances if you don’t teach them “right from wrong” in regards to chances and choices? If your goal is to be a friend how can you lay down the law, enforce the law, and teach them “right from wrong” choices and chances. I feel I have done my job as a parent if my child is mad at me from time to time because of corrective measures I enforce. A good parent uses reward and punishment to mold behavior. Someone always focused on being a friend loses the authority to parent and punish. My kids are the better for my working as a parent instead of my being another one of their buddies.

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