Understanding when you’ll be their parent and when you’ll be more of friend is the tricky as being a friend too early or a strict parent too late can be detrimental to your child’s long-term growth. When children are young, they need a parent setting healthy boundaries and providing rules and structure as those things provide the foundation for their long-term success. As they get older, children need opportunities and the freedom to make choices on their own. This transition can be difficult for many parents as it can be hard to let our children learn how to navigate life without our help.
Parents who don’t allow their children the ability to become independent as they grow, stunt their child’s growth as making decisions and taking responsibility is important for them to learn. A family environment is one of the safest places for them to learn those lessons. As a child becomes more independent the role of the parent transitions to more of a friend or confident. This transition is scary for parents as they worry they will lose influence over their child. Our advice, treat them with respect. If you treat your child with respect as they grow, they are more likely to turn to you when they have difficulties or need advice. If you don’t treat them with respect it’s unlikely they will respect you enough to value your opinion.
Now as you become more of a friend to your child we aren’t saying that you should stop being a parent. You child still needs you to be their parent and they need to still have rules, consequences, and boundaries.
We know that parenting can be hard. For additional parenting help visit Smarter Parenting or leave a comment below of a parenting question you’d liked answered.