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April 11th, 2009, 08:18 AM #1Parents or Friends?
Got an email from a friend yesterday who is struggling with trying to be her teen's friend. She is scared that her boy will hate her if she is too strict. Am I missing something?
Since when are we our kids friends? My mom, who is amazing, wasn't my "friend" until I was a grown-up and could relate as a friend. Maybe that's a big part of why so many kids aren't respectful anymore, they mistakenly think they are on the same level as grown-ups mentally and emotionally, and they react based on this falsehood.
Scientifially, even when they are teens, kids are still forming the part of the brain that handles impulse control. Research now points to this instead of hormones as the reason for teens not making the right decisions so often.
So I told her what kept me strong when my oldest was going through the rough teen patch. He will have many many friends throughout his life. But he will only have one mom that will have his best interests at heart.
I'm not saying she should be an ogre, but parents are NOT supposed to be friends.
April 11th, 2009, 10:03 AM #2
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It's a fine line, but parents need to be firm and teach their kids values BUT they need to also need to be sure their kids will come to them with questions and problems and not be afraid to talk about the things that can get them into trouble. They need to feel safe, hence the feeling that parents need to be "friends".
We had special circumstances in our family so I was more "friend" to my kids at a younger age, however when I needed to be "mean mom" I certainly was. Only a couple times in one son's teen years did I have to intervene in his choices and make a strong stand that could have been disastrous.
My parenting method was pretty simple, kids need to be able to explore and grow, but if they are going to hurt themselves or others THEN I stepped in. And stepped in without qualms and with strong statements that I followed through on.
My kids weren't perfect, but they didn't give me the kinds of problems that required me to pull the "Mom" card very often.
And most of you "know" Liz through here or in person Unfortunately none of you knew her brothers.Deborah Carney
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April 11th, 2009, 10:47 AM #3Originally Posted by loxly
Danay, I, too, feel that parents need to be parents first, friends second. Teens are a touchy issue. They absolutely need guidance but will rebel no matter how strict or lenient a parent is - I think we need to give them the space to rebel and discover their individuality but, as Loxly said, step in when needed.
I had a rough go with my older daughter in her middle teen years - I let her go just far enough to get into trouble, then reeled her back by being her mom first but also a friend who understood what she was going through. It worked like magic but as you said, kids need to respect that their parents are inevitably wiser and in charge or they'll lose the security they desperately need.
Very fine line - best to be a parent first. It's what we're SUPPOSED to be. We don't need to be laying a friend trip on our kids - they have their own friends. Many times, parents try to befriend their kids without setting up proper boundaries. Your friend needs to maintain authority or her son will trample her. A lot of parents try to be their teenager's friend because of a twisted agenda to be "cool," which isn't at all cool. He desperately needs her to be a mom right now and maintain her dignity to set an example.
I don't believe in being "too strict" with kids, either. Especially not with teenagers, who will rebel even if we're lenient. Your friend is correct in assuming that her son will "hate" her if she's too strict. Mostly, she'll send him running which is even more dangerous than giving in a little. This is the time to "pick her battles" and at all times, keep his safety uppermost in mind.Peace,
Loving Everyone's Child Creates Magic
April 11th, 2009, 11:19 AM #4
yeah, I'm with ya both. I am a pretty liberal parent when it comes to teen stuff, but I'm a no-budge stickler when it comes to drugs, respect, backtalking, and all that jazz. My son and his friends knew that they could call us for ANYTHING and they were always welcome in our home, but we did require respect with no ifs, ands or butts about it.
My MO was always to challenge them to disagree with us in a respectful way. No whining, no pissy attitudes, etc. It makes me laugh, I used to make my son look in the mirror every time he got an attitude so he could see how childish he looked. Of course that would make him angrier, lol, but he got the message and was able to reflect on it later when he was grounded.
Funny, my mom just looks at me and smiles knowingly when she witnesses this, which is all she needs to do to remind me that I used to have that same attitude when I was a teen.
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