This paper takes the view that parents should not be friend with their children. Being friends with your children may prove to be a bad idea because these children may end up not respecting their parents because they take them as their friends. Parents who want to befriend their children may contribute to the problem because when they style themselves as their children’s buddies, they may find it so hard to enforce the standards and rules they have set. Being friends with your children may put a notion into the children’s mind that there is nobody who is in charge; they may think that all of them are equal, because in friendship no one has authority over the other. Thus it is not appropriate for parents to be friends with their children.
Dewar states that when parents become friends with their children, they tend to treat them as a confidant which is a very big cost to the children as the children may be stressed out by the many personal confessions made by their parents. She goes on to say that friendship between the parents and the child depends on what friendship means to you. Friendship may cause problems when it means that you treat children as an adult confidant, but not all friendship will conform to the model of egalitarian where all are equal, these are the friendships that are considered healthy between a parent and the child. In this case the mother is first and foremost the mother to the children but she might as well consider herself as a friend because she shares a common sense of trust, mutual loyalty and respect with her kids. Here, the parent and the child respect, trust and care about each other they can sit down and enjoy each others company as well as having an interesting conversation in an informal setting. This however has certain restraints, the parent is the dominant party and has to keep some information to himself or herself and must at some point exercise authority over the child. (Dewar,2009)
Parents at times want to be cool to their kids; they think that being cool will make it easier for their children to open up to them more than they would have if they were not cool. Being cool has it advantages and disadvantages, when a parent is too cool to the child; the child ends up thinking that he has all the freedom to do as he pleases and may end up making very bad choices and mistakes because their parents are cool and trust them. Being cool is good but it has to be to some extent, trusting your child is good but that trust should also be to some extent because a child would abuse that trust and make mistakes that may cost them and even their parents.
In an article, Landers says that any good parent should have the best interest of their child at heart and would do everything to maintain the well being of their child. It is not realistic for a parent to be friends with their children because it is not a realistic concept of good parental care. A child needs a figure of authority that is very capable of showing them what is wrong and what is right. That is the most or almost the meaning of a parent. There is a line that should be drawn in parenting that should not be crossed. (Landers, 2005)
Some parents are too lazy to perform parental duties to their children, they themselves are still kids or they got into parenthood while they are still too young or they just do not want to be responsible to their kids. Such kinds of parents are called the Not My Problem Parents; they tend to keep away from their children, even when the children make mistakes they prefer to distance themselves from the actions of their children. These parents try as much as possible to avoid responsibility. These kinds of parents are the ones who want to be friends with their children because with being friends they rest from being parents. (Hersage, 2009)
When parents are friend with their children, the children use this to their advantage, they want to get their way into everything, whatever they want they get, if not so, they through temper tantrums to make their parents give them what they want even if it is something the parents can not afford, these kids have been raised in an environment that is not strict, the parents are their friends thus they tend to manipulate their parents into consenting into everything they want.
Sometimes when a parent becomes a friend to the child or becomes lazy and not perform their parental duties, a child may be forced to fill in the gap the parent has left. The child may take up the responsibility of an adult and make decisions that he or she is not supposed to take because he or she is a confidant to the parent and thinks that the parent would not mind if they take up a certain responsibility. This may be dangerous because the child needs to be a child and do what a child should do, shouldering such kinds of responsibility may lead to the child not performing the parental duties when they become parents, they may become children when they are parents because they skipped that stage of childhood, also these children end up not following rules, they think they are equal to their parents and may want to do things against the rules set, they have in mind that their parents are their friends and would understand their behavior. Children need a very clear delineation that is between the adult world and the child’s world, the problems, discussions, worries, emotions, responsibilities and issues of adults should only be kept among the adults. (Kellevision, 2009)
In the quest to become the friends of their children, parents are portraying a bad image to their kids. In such a context the child is a confidant to the parent and the child can be very open to the parent, this creates some kind of equal ground between the two. This brings about very disrespectful kids because their parents are not setting a good example for them. A parent should be the authoritative party, he or she should set rules and make sure they are followed to the later, being a friend to the child will mean compromising the rules you have set, thus, the child will not take the parent seriously and will tend to be disrespectful. These children end up not having self respect because they were not taught about respecting themselves, their parents dwell so much in making friends with their children and forget that they are supposed to teach their children on self respect and discipline. The parents fear that if they are so strict with their children, they would not love them. These children end up being a big problem to the society at large.
Boundaries need to be set by parents and make sure they are enforced to the latter. Without boundaries children tend to go as far as dropping out of school and having kids at an early age because their parents never set these boundaries. Parents need to tell their children how far they can tolerate their behavior if any child goes beyond that line; the parent needs to take appropriate measures. This will instill discipline in these children, when they want to make a decision they must consider their parents boundaries and the consequences that come with crossing these boundaries.
Parents should not be their children’s friends, they should first be parents take on the responsibilities of a parent and raise their children with the highest level of discipline that they can. Discipline is the key issue in raising a child, because with discipline a child grows with all the virtues needed in the day to day life. If a parent wants to be a friend to the child, he or she needs to set a limit to the friendship. Instead of being friends with your child, have an open relationship, where, when the child does something wrong, you discipline or correct her and when they have a problem listen to them without judging them and advice them where you can, this way the child will be open with you without compromising your parental responsibility.
Landers, J. (2005). Can Parents Be Best Friends With Their Children? Retrieved 30
November, 2010 from http://www.gibbsmagazine.com/Can%20Parents.htm
Dewar, G. (2009). Parenting Science: Should Parents Be Friends With Their Kids? Retrieved
30 November, 2010 from http://www.parentingscience.com/parents-be-friends.html
Hersage, M. (2009). Ineed2know.org: Why Some Parents Try To Be Friends of Their
Teenagers Instead of Parents. Retrieved 30 November, 2010 from http://www.ineed2know.org/children/parents-or-friends.htm
Kellevision. (2009). Children Need Parents, Not Friends. Retrieved 30 November, 2010