Being Both Parent and Friend to Your Child

A few tips to help you be the parents you dreamed of being

Before you had children you probably promised yourself you would be perfect parents: patient, soothing, understanding, sensitive and never tired or busy or irritable. And it goes without saying you will never fight in front of the children. In short, you promised yourself your children will be proud to have you as their parents and as their friends.

Very quickly you discovered that children take up all your time and energy and resources without giving you anything, and even without saying thank you. Furthermore, you discovered that they are creatures who like to be dirty, like to fight with one another and never listen to you. How could you fulfill your promise to be calm and understanding when every day begins with tumult and ends with a miracle?

Being Both Parent and Friend to Your Child

There is no doubt you have forgotten a number of basic rules a parent mustn’t forget, along the way. For instance, what happened to the iron-clad rule not to get into confrontation with the children, and if you do never to lose? Of course you have gotten into confrontations with them on a daily basis, and of course you lost along the way.

What happened to the golden rule to always behave in the way you want them to behave one day as adults? And of course you showed them aggression and disregard and tiredness and irritation, with the hope that they won’t be like you.

So the promise to be friends with your children has long been forgotten. Because why would children wish to be friends with parents who call each other ‘stupid’ or ‘egotistical’? And why would they want to be friends with parents who quiet each other down, break each other’s word, and take turns threatening who will leave the house?

But it is never too late to change attitude and make sure that your children will be proud to have you as their parents and friends. Start with saying the following things to them, between reproaching and reprimanding:

  • You make us proud
  • Where do you come up with these beautiful ideas?
  • It is fun being your mom and dad
  • I would really like to know what you think about this
  • You help us very much
  • I am very proud of your ability to make your own decisions
  • That was an excellent question
  • That was a smart choice
  • We really thank you for the new things we learn from you every day
  • That was brave of you
  • It is a pleasure to see you taking on so much responsibility
  • Your apology shows just how mature you are
  • We are so happy you decided to try again
  • We are very lucky to have you as our child
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