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|Lesson: Are you a "BFF" Parent?|
Are you trying to be your child's "best friend forever"? Or are you a friend to your child? All kinds of strings are attached to BFFs, but a true friend should involve no strings whatsoever. Maybe it's the qualities of a BFF parent that make us think that friendship should not enter the parent/child relationship.
All the "experts" say you shouldn't be your child's friend. Why not? I have a hard time understanding that point of view. Is it because we want to be able to punish, reprimand, and control our children? Is it because we want more power over them than a friend would have? I want to examine this friendship idea.
What is a friend? Someone you can count on; someone who is loyal, honest, and trustworthy; someone you really like and even love; someone you want in your life for a very long time; someone you empathize with who can empathize with you; someone who gives you a shoulder to cry on, listens, and understands your problems without fixing them or giving unwanted advice; someone who doesn't talk about you behind your back but instead has your back; someone you really like being with because you can be yourself. Wouldn't you like to be that for your child?
Are you afraid that being your child's friend means not being able to hold him accountable because your authority would be undermined? Don't you hold your friends accountable for their behavior? Good friendships are lost over less. When we can't say no to our friends, hold them accountable for certain behavior, or speak honestly, it indicates poor boundaries--not a great foundation for friendship.
I see no reason we cannot be friends with our children. But there is a difference between being friends and being a BFF parent:
The BFF Parent:
- Alters own needs to suite child's demands
- Does anything to avoid child's upset
- Is dishonest to protect child from the "big, bad world"
- Avoids loneliness by sharing inappropriate information
- Demands loyalty and companionship through attached strings
- Tries to fix child's problems to gain love and appreciation
- Asks child to keep secrets
- Uses child as confidante for own problems
- Holds back feelings to be nice, yet can blow-up in a rage
- Insists that child has similar tastes, values, and opinions
The Parent who is also a friend:
- Enjoys spending time, hanging out with, and just being with the child
- Shares ideas, opinions, stories and encourages the same
- Learns what activities child enjoys and becomes familiar with them
- Listens and acknowledges feelings but does not take responsibility for child's problems, upsets, or disappointments
- Shows respect and consideration in all communication and never speaks disrespectfully, hurtfully, or abusively
- Laughs a lot and tells jokes
- Encourages child to find own way, follow own path, develop own values and opinions
- Is willing to speak honestly trusting the relationship will remain strong
- Behaves in way that does not betray trust
- Expresses anger and deals with child's anger
- Argues and negotiates
- Is also the authority figure--someone the child looks up to, learns from, and emulates because of the preceding attributes
I wonder if the qualities of friendship restrict parents too much from speaking disrespectfully and doling out whatever critical, labeling, or punitive reactions arise in the heat of the moment. I wonder if being a friend to your child requires accountability that most parents don't want to be held to. Are we afraid that our children won't respect us if we are their friends? Don't you respect your friends?
In the parent-child relationship, we are more than friends. We are teachers and guides; we provide for them and are responsible for their care and upbringing, but this does not preclude friendship as well. Problems arise when we try to be "best friends forever". Or when we are not their friends.
Continue to send me more pictures. Parents and kids, angry kids, happy kids - email@example.com
|My Blog - Join the conversation |
Is your Graduate ready for graduation?
Graduation means commencement, start, launch-into what? Are your children truly prepared? Is the world prepared for our children? Much of the situation we can do nothing about. But we can do our best at preparing our children for this day with a slow, gradual launching process over many years.
| Did you know...?| ...you can help build the Connective Parenting community by encouraging book sales and writing a review of either or both of my books on amazon if they helped you. On each amazon page, scroll down past reviews to the "Write a customer review" button. For When Your Kids Push Your Buttons, for Confident Parents, Remarkable Kids. If you do, email me and I will give you the Workbook offer below.
... if you order When Your Kids Push Your Buttons
book or CD set from my website,
not amazon, during the month of June, I will send you a free e-doc of The Buttons Workbook
, a $12+shipping value.
| Upcoming Schedule|Jaffrey, NH
July 20, 2012
What's parenting got to do with it?
Friday July 20, 8:00pm
Peterborough, NHInterested in a private phone or skype session? It's easy from anywhere in the world. See phone coaching. Call or email Bonnie - 603 924-6639, firstname.lastname@example.org
October 19-22, 2012
When Your Kids Push Your Buttons Professional Certification Training
Dates: Friday evening Oct. 19 thru Monday Oct. 22
Location: Connective Parenting Offices in NH at peak foliage time!
Cost: $450 / Earlybird Special $415 by 9/15/12
$50 deposit to hold place to:
Connective Parenting, 152 Windy Row, Peterborough, NH 03458
| Information |
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Contact: To send a question: Email me your question, and I will respond with my answer within a couple of days. Then I post it in the newsletter at a later time. I never use names.
Pictures needed. Do any of you have pictures of not-so-happy kids? Maybe what they look like when they push your buttons! And stories - short successes.
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