In Geometry, lines are important. They serve a purpose in marking boundaries, setting limits. The same holds true in life. Lines have to be drawn in order to delineate one’s space and borders. When those lines are crossed one way or another, conflict arises.
A lot of parents aim to be “cool”. They want their kids to like them, because they want their kids to open up to them about things. So they do everything they can- notwithstanding rules- to be friends with them. But what does this mean? Does this mean letting them go on Facebook unsupervised, or making their curfew hours flexible?
I’m not one to rule with an iron hand, but I believe that we parents should be that to our kids: parents. That’s why we were put in this position. Our kids have their sets of friends, but there will only be one set of parents for him. If we don’t fulfill our duties as guardians to them, who else will? There’s an unwritten contract that it is our obligation to nurture them, and guide them.
That doesn’t mean that we should totally scrap “having fun with the kids” from our to-do list. The key is in striking a balance between chilling with them and commanding respect. Is it at all possible? It may be a struggle, yes, but it is possible. So, how can you not be a dictator and neither a too-cool mom or dad?
In order to foster a certain degree of friendship while still keeping within the bounds of respect, we parents should initially let our kids know what type of respect we want from them. In a loving yet firm way, we can lay down the rules when it comes to their curfew, for example.
Once your kid is aware of the rules you’ve set, you can then try to be involved in his or her life, without over-imposing. Make it a habit to ask him about how his school day went, ask him about his friends. Take a keen and sincere interest in his hobbies and the people he hangs out with. Spend time watching his favorite TV show with him and talk about it.
Don’t try too hard to be your kid’s friend. Smothering invites disrespect. Just give your kid a steady supply of warm love, and he’ll reciprocate while still upholding respect for you.