We actually move from "stern parent" when our children are very young to "friend" as they age. The time to establish who is in charge is from the very beginning. A "no" must mean a no every time. Disobedience needs to be addressed consistently, rather than ignored. A parent will be put to the test the most around the "terrible twos". Generally, the year between the 2s and 3s will be adequate time to train the child to be obedient. Realize, however, that not all children are on the exact time schedule. My one son started his "terrible twos" the day he turned 3. After it is established that you are the boss, and not the child, often all that will be required is a stern look or voice. Once this important authority structure has been firmly established, the friendship factor comes into play. Enjoy your child and let him enjoy you. Spend time together. Forge strong bonds, but always remain firmly at the helm. Do not ever let your child manipulate you. The more your child "likes" you, the more he will naturally adopt your values and the less need there will be for discipline. Children generally fall into one of several categories. Some are what I call the "in your face type". If this child is going to be disobedient, he will do it in no uncertain terms. Another type is the "behind your back type". This includes lying, denial, and other forms of deception and hiding. Some children,though, are more naturally respectful and sail through their days, with hardly a ripple. Regardless of your teaching and training, each child has their own personality, along with the challenges and joys of said personality. As with other people, you will find some of your children easier to get along with and more likeable than others. This is only natural, so don't let it cause undue stress, but at the same time, refrain from obvious favoritism. The teenage years may produce some stormy times, but if you have trained your children properly, you can remain a friend with strong boundaries that they will respect.