Fresh off the press, “PARENTS STRUGGLE WITH TRYING TO BE THEIR KID’S FRIEND”. If you have every seen the 2004 movie Mean Girls then you know Amy Poehler’s role as Mrs. George and yes, she is the “cool” mom. She has fake boobs, has no major rules on underage drinking (she would simply rather have them do it at their house), allows her daughter to have boys in her room (even offers them condoms…convenient), and always wants to know the “low down”. Super cool and super unhealthy all at the same time.
A study recently released by The Family Room LLC, FocusVision, and Lightspeed GMI reveals that 54 percent of Millennial parents consider their children as “one of my best friends.” This may be a stat for millennial parents, but the urge and desire to be your kid’s friend does not discriminate by generation.
On one hand, YouTime helps coach parents on how to have a supportive, positive, and open relationship with their kids despite the challenges they may face, but limitations and boundaries come with the territory. Below you’ll find three solid reasons why trying to be your kid’s bestie is not recommended.
3 Reasons Why Parents Should NOT be Their Kid’s Best Friend
Reason #1: IT’S NOT ENOUGH
Bottomline. Your kid needs more than a friend, and “more” includes the not-so-pretty-stuff as well. The feeling of a trustworthy, reciprocating, and accepting friendship is a miraculous thing, and we should all be so fortunate to experience this within our lifetime. With that being said, if simply being a friend to your kid had the strongest correlation for future success, that would be the gold standard for “how to parent”. Unfortunately, being your kid’s best friend is not the best indicator, but it sure as hell makes a parent feel a little more comfortable (with some hidden costs).
During adolescence, a parent struggles with issues of “not having enough information”. Their kid doesn’t talk to them as much and what they do share comes in the form of one syllable words. If that’s not bad, you’re in competition with their pursuit of instant gratification, impulsive decision making, and thrill-seeking behaviors. Providing a friendship caters to avoiding tough parenting decisions and/or accommodating troublesome child behaviors. Simply put, a friendship is not enough.
Kids desire boundaries, but parents fear them. Picture the child that continually pushes the limits and has no repercussions. To some kids, this will eventually come off as “my parents don’t care”. Kids need boundaries, need to be told both ‘yes’ and ‘no’, need positive reinforcement along with discipline and need a role model for relationships, communication, and how to create an environment that promotes self-respect and empathy towards others. Kids need both the ‘pretty’ and ‘no-so-pretty’ aspects of parenting.
Reason #2: YOU CAN’T BE THE GOOD AND BAD COP
Even with the best of intentions, parents can still end up with opposing views on parenting. Let’s the face the truth though, if you have one parent trying to be too much of a friend to their kid then the other will automatically assume some degree of “bad cop”. The imbalance will begin. Your kid will know exactly who to go to for money, who is less likely to yell at them for getting in trouble, who to go to for help, and also who to avoid during these circumstances. Parent Splitting is a real thing and can be a real pain in the ass too.
Many parents and even professionals dislike even using the word “cop” because kids don’t need cops. If you are policing your kids, you are sure to see some backlash that will make the relationship and your idea of authority even more confusing. A hard fact is that parents who want to be friends with their kids have a hard time making important (and unpopular) decisions for them in fear that it will tarnish this friendship. A young person needs a lot of structure, boundaries, communication, support, and coaching. That same young person is hit by a major wall when the “good cop” tries to lay down some necessary structure.
Keep this is mind… “good cops” are usually challenged with being a consistent source of authority and this can have a negative impact on the young person’s degree of respect for them as a parent. “Bad cops” are the people that kids learn to avoid and in some cases fear, both undesirable.
Reason #3: POWER STRUGGLES AWAIT
The constant battle of “who has the upper hand” is a natural hole to find yourself in while your child is growing through adolescence. During this period your kid may think they know it all or at least are willing to take the risk in proving it. Natural repercussions will most definitely occur during this period but the lessons and growth following these events may operate a little slower.
One important thing to remember. Kids desire boundaries, but parents fear them. Picture the child that continually pushes the limits and has no real repercussions. To some kids and over time, this will eventually come off as “my parents don’t care”. Kids need boundaries, need to be told both ‘yes’ and ‘no’, provided positive reinforcement along with discipline, and need a role model for relationships, communication, and how to create an environment that promotes self-respect and empathy towards others. Kids need both the ‘pretty’ and ‘no-so-pretty’ aspects of parenting.
If the scene is set with a lack of boundaries/house-rules, responsibilities earned privileges coupled with a lack of consistent, timely, and appropriate discipline then it sets the stage of a power struggle. In reality “power” is not an accurate word to use here, it should be replaced with respect, awareness, and understanding. Parents who work on these boundaries earlier, find it easier in the end all while their child develops self-respect, respect for their parents, and a deeper understanding of their behaviors.
Through the positive and successful work that YouTime has completed with young people and their families we have put together something for the parents. Whether your kid struggles with ADHD, executive functioning deficits, anxiety, or depression we have strategies build to make parenting a little easier.
Click below to have these effective parenting strategies immediately at your fingertips: CLICK HERE