What is the key in regards to parenting, to not crossing the line between a "stern parent," and a "friend"?
Last Updated: 08/06/2018 at 8:46pm
Hope Hadding, MSW, LCSW
Clinical Social Work/Therapist
I am a professional therapist with extensive experience working with various mental health disorders as well as sexual issues. I am supportive and non-judgmental.
Top Rated Answers
Your children are like young adults just like you are an adult. Sometimes its good to be there and help out but sometimes its good to give them the space. Talk to them like how you would talk to yourself if you needed the advice and act with them as how u would want someone to act with u what u are in that situation. Basically saying put yourself in their shoes.
I found that remembering how I felt as a child and thinking about the way I would have like to have been treated back then was a good way of getting a perspective of how to interact with my own kids. Respecting them for who they are goes a long way towards getting kids to hear you.
For me it is good timing. I should now when to be a "stern parent" and a "friend". Being a stern parent usually needed when I need to direct my kid when he misdirect. Being a friend is happen at all times. A good friend will tell theirs when they do something wrong, right? Well, it really need A LOT of wisdom to do so.
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.
they are two completely different ends of the spectrum - the line between both of these styles of parenting is hard to cross in one sitting.
Kids need rules and boundaries and that is the role of a parent. A parent should exercise common sense though and create an environment that is too stern. Within the boundaries and with mutual respect good relationships can be cultivated.
The key is to accept that your decision and actions may not always be liked by children or for that matter any one else as long as you have exercise the principle of openness and acceptance and make an effort to see the issue from their perspective as well.
Trust is definetely the most important thing. Do not prohibit your kids of doing certain things, tell them why they should not do it. Talk to them openly, tell them your experiences, let them be open about their mistakes and fears so they know you're not judgemental. Just be there for them as support, as a friend, as a protector.
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