“I think the biggest problem is that parents are so concerned with being friends with their kids. You’re not their friend. You’re their parent.”
— Charles Barkley, is an American retired Hall of Fame professional basketball player who is currently an analyst on Inside the NBA.
One of the things that I see which makes me cringe beyond belief is when parents try to be friends with their kids… while parenting and enforcing rules.
Let me be the first to explain something: yes, you can, should and will become friends with your kids. Yes. When THEY HAVE THEIR OWN KIDS. But I use the term loosely because quite honestly this is not a popularity contest to see if your child will become your BFF. Yes, eventually you will become friends with your kids. Yes. When THEY HAVE THEIR OWN KIDS. When they can understand and respect the hustle and struggle of being a parent — THEN they’ll understand.
Until then, this is strictly about parenting and blurring the lines of being a parent and being a friend just don’t go together and ultimately end up blowing up in your face.
One of the most classic scenarios that I see often in today’s day is parents who overcompensate for their mistakes. One of the most common is when a parent divorces their spouse and then the parent overcompensates on everything. You know, the parent that feels they have to do everything, all the time, non-stop, 24/7/365.
There are two things going on here.
- The parent feels like their relationship with their spouse shouldn’t and will not become a new burden to carry. The parent still feels scarred from the relationship and tries to do everything under the sun to compensate for the missing parent. This overcompensation becomes a way to attach themselves even more to their kids because they feel as though they’ve put them in a bad situation with the divorce. I’ve even seen women go as far as saying, this is my date for the night and it ends up being their seven year old son. In theory, this sounds cute but ultimately it’s sending way too many mixed signals for a child.
- The parent overcompensates by showering their kids with many gifts to heal the pain of a divorce or separation. In doing so, the parent may confide in their kids about things that have happened. I’m all for truth — as much as the kid can handle. But where it gets murky is where the parent confides in the kid too often as a way to get their feelings and emotions off their chest. Look, don’t do this to your kids. Because when it comes time to discipline them, kids are kids. They can often use your confidential talks into ammunition for their gain. They’re kids. That’s what they do.
Seek help from a therapist or from trustworthy family and friends when you’re going through a tough divorce or breakup. Stop thinking you need to do Hero Parenting where you need to do everything. You’re only wearing yourself out even further.
Parenting the Opposite Way
One of the things most parents try to do is to do the exact opposite of what their parents did when it comes to parenting. Now I get this — perhaps you’ve had a terrible childhood. I get it. But most people have decent parents who tries their best in raising you and there were perhaps a few things that you absolutely didn’t like.
The key here is to understand what kind of parent you want to be.
Me personally, I’m a hard but fair parent. I allow the kids to be themselves but I also have extremely high expectations of them. I raise them to understand the importance of money and how to get it in abundance. This was never taught to me the right way. I allow them to explore their the world using their strengths. I push then to experience many new things.
Overall, I’m a very stern but fair parent. I absolutely don’t mind being the bad guy. In fact, I like to be the bad guy. I know who I am as a parent and my experience has taught me that most other parents know who they are as a parent. The biggest problem is consistency.
When it comes to disciplining, it’s very hard to discipline your friend. In fact, your friends don’t want you disciplining them so why all of a sudden would you think that becoming a (parent) friend of your kids and trying to discipline them would be any different?
Identify and Maintain the Boundaries
It can’t be. The lines are blurred. Once the lines are blurred, it’s incredibly challenging to come back and draw a harder line over the original line.
I compare this to rap music and R&B music. I’ll give you two artist — DMX and R. Kelly. We all know DMX as this thuggish, hard core rapper with a grimey style of rap. He’s rough around the edges and tough. He’s songs represent that. So if DMX came out with a more relaxed style akin to R&B, he’d still be accepted because we all know him still as this hardcore scary dude. Only now he’d be seen as showing his softer side.
R. Kelly on the other hand is a smooth R&B artist. He’s chill and doesn’t sing anything too raunchy. If he all of a sudden started rapping hardcore and tried to kick start his career with the hood, he’d lose out in sales dramatically. It’s because no one would respect him. He’s not hardcore, he’s R&B. Stick to that!
Same thing with parenting. You can be a hardcore parent and as kids get older, you can soften up. But you can’t be a softie and then turn your act around to be like Rampage Jackson. It just looks fake and it doesn’t get respected.
I have a line that I say to my son every now and then:
Son, … we AIN’T friends. I’m your DAD. Now when you decide that you want little kids. THE and ONLY THEN can we become friends.
And that’s all I have to say about that.
Fred is currently putting together a program for students of all ages. This revolutionary program helps kids of all ages maximize and focus on their strengths to improve confidence and mindset in areas that need improvement. The philosophy of the #1 Mindset which is that no one’s made with weaknesses and there are no accidents. We’re all made on purpose for a purpose and our purpose lies in our strengths.
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Fred is a proud married father of four beautiful children. He’s worked in the school district for over a decade and has extensive knowledge on student behavior in the regular and special education sectors. Fred Blumenberg is a #1 Entrepreneur Mindset Coach who gets entrepreneurs to hyper-focus on monetizing their strengths to achieve greatness.
All articles on Medium.com will be towards helping parents who adopt the philosophy of the #1 Mindset — which is that no one’s made with weaknesses and there are no accidents.
Contact Fred Blumenberg today by chatting with him via the website:https://www.therealfredlee.com/