Being a parent comes with many duties. You are charged with the sacred duty of feeding, clothing, and teaching your child how to live in the world as a productive and satisfied member of the community.
However, your job is not to be your child’s friend.
Of course you want your child to like you. But that shouldn’t be the goal of your parenting strategies. Here are five things parents do that drive children crazy and the reasons why that’s perfectly okay.
No one wants to be denied a desired pleasure. So, it’s understandable when a child launches into a disappoint-fueled tirade when you respond negatively to a request. Rather than give in to the urge to feel guilty or bad about denying their request, keep these key points in mind.
- Sometimes in life, the answer is no. Helping your child to grasp this fact early in life gives them the chance to develop emotional maturity.
- Safety is more important than pleasure. Setting boundaries keeps kids safe and healthy.
- As a parent, you are responsible for teaching your child healthy limits and boundaries. Enforcing certain restrictions actually encourages empathy, an important skill in any relationship.
Don’t feel bad about telling your child no, regardless of their response.
Structure is an essential element in healthy child rearing. Knowing what to expect gives children a sense of comfort, safety, and belonging. While they may balk at not being able to explore some issues freely, they will eventually come to understand that rules are there for their benefit.
Parents who focus on friendly feelings over healthy boundaries make it difficult for children to grow into responsible and respectful adults.
Upholding the Authority of Others
A true friend is always on your side, right? As a parent, however, that viewpoint is dangerous. Backing up the authority figures in your child’s life is another way to instill a sense of respect for those who are charged with their well-being. Shirking that responsibility leads children to overvalue their own opinion, which can make it hard for them in situations that require cooperative actions.
Providing assistance is one thing. However, overly friendly parents often take on too many of the burdens that rightly should belong to their children. This attitude negatively impacts their growth in several ways.
- Children who aren’t taught to be responsible for themselves often develop a debilitating sense of privilege. Hint: think about the college admissions scandal and people’s general feeling of affluenza.
- Avoiding consequences makes them believe their actions come without repercussions.
- Failure and struggle is an essential part of the learning process. By short circuiting it, parents rob children of vital life lessons.
As an equal, a friend doesn’t have the right to push for certain information. As a parent, however, there are times when you’ll need to breach your child’s private thoughts. Parents who are focused on being liked over being effective have a hard time pushing through this barrier and could inadvertently leave their child in an unsafe situation.
While it is important to maintain parental authority, there are ways to secure a loving and emotionally fulfilling relationship with your children without risking your authority. Model the proper behaviors, validate and discuss their feelings, and give them enough space to find their own path through life to raise happy and respectful offspring.