Parenting as Peers...

 This was a social media post back in January, that I wanted to share here on the blog too.

I hope this parent doesn't mind me sharing this! She shared a parenting story with me yesterday, and I wanted to share it here - because it is (in my opinion) a topic that needs to be discussed.

In recent years parenting has shown a trend in the desire to create bonds of peer-based friendship between a parent and their child; as opposed to having a parent-to-child based relationship.

The story she shared with me:

Her 6 year old daughter was listing all of her friends, then added "and you Mom, you're my friend too". Her mom replied "thank you, for saying I'm your friend, but you know (name), I'm your Mommy, and being your Mommy is my relationship with you - you are going to have SO MANY friends in your life, and only ONE mommy. My job is to be your parent and when you grow up, you will understand why that's more important than me being a friend right now. It doesn't mean I love you less or that we don't have fun together - it just means moms and dads are parents, and it's important for them to ONLY be their kid's parents, not their friends".

This mom and I then discussed our shared views that children NEED to have parental figures in their lives; and that there is an alarming trend in the preschool years where parents are instead choosing to interact and only relate to their child(ren) as peers - and the dangers this can have.

Of COURSE it is always ok to play/have fun with, be goofy/silly with, spend time with, have many MANY daily chit chats with our children; this is a vital part of parenting.

But the separation (in our opinions) needs to come into effect when there are discussions of rules and expectations, consequences, and overall family values.

Children often become very confused, which can easily manifest in a number of behavioural actions (power struggles, regression of milestone abilities, defiance, tantrums, etc) when parents suddenly switch from being a "friend" to an "authority figure".

Or worse, we observe more and more parents choosing NOT to become an authority figure, to ensure they remain "friends" with their child. Which leads to children not getting these critical socio-emotional skills developed.

KIDS NEED PARENTS. They already have now, and will continue have in the future, lots of friends.

Just my opinion!