As a parent, do you often wonder if you can also be a friend to your child? Will doing so change the parent-child relationship? Read on to find out the answer
Friends make our life worth living and are a blessing, and children seem to have a natural ability to make friends. The enthusiasm and joy children exude when they are with their friends can make us wonder if we should also become friends with our children.
But, can parents be friends with their children?
The parent-child relationship is a special one. A positive parent-child bond plays a crucial role in raising confident and resilient children. A parent's role is to discipline and guide children. So, while being friends with your child may seem very attractive, numerous studies state that it's really not the best idea for either parent or child. Here are some reasons why being friends with children may not be a parent's best choice.
A parent-child relationship is an unequal one because parents are in a position of authority, are more knowledgeable, and exert more influence than the child. But the bond between your child and their friend is devoid of such inequalities or responsibilities.
Parents are responsible for setting the rules, for helping children behave appropriately, maintaining firm boundaries, giving them adequate freedom to explore and learn, encouraging them to become self-sufficient, and supporting them through their emotional distress. Friends neither play the role of parents nor do they enforce consequences when boundaries are crossed. So, when parents try to be 'cool' and become friends with their children they may turn a blind eye to their child's issues with discipline.
Becoming their child's friend can lead parents to share unnecessary details of financial problems or relationship crises. But children aren't mature enough to cope with such issues and can feel burdened by these problems. It also robs children of a carefree childhood.
Although parents must share a warm, loving, and open relationship with their child, they must also ensure that their child accepts and respects their authority. But, when parent and child become friends, the child may assume they have the same power and authority as their parents.
So, how can you be a parent and yet share a warm relationship with your child? The answer lies in being a friendly parent. Here are some ways you can be one:
In today's stressful and busy times, parents have almost forgotten that being playful with a child works like magic. Being playful is not about being childish. It's about being spontaneous. Injecting fun into any activity your child is engaged in or coming up with an imaginative play idea makes you a playful parent. Remember, it's about finding ways to enter your child's world, so you understand and connect with them better.
Is there a child who doesn't like listening to stories? Stories play a very important role in a child's growth and development. Storytelling helps establish bonds because you share experiences together in the stories you tell. You can even share your previous day's experience as a story. This will teach your child that conversations can be more than just question-and-answer sessions about what happened in school or how she is doing in academics.
Like adults, children also enjoy a dose of humor. So, go ahead and laugh with your child to build a strong bond with him. Cracking a joke is also serious business. Listening to jokes brings out the fun and creates a relaxed atmosphere for sharing feelings, thoughts, and ideas.
Emotional and cognitive skills develop gradually and with firm guidance from parents. Thus, they require their parents to help them handle their emotions even as they correct them with firmness.
Understand that you can build a close, personal relationship with your child, and still remain a responsible parent. Be a responsive parent and stay connected to your child. That will help you become the best parent you can be.
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