Do you need to be a friend or parent to your kids?
Do you have to make a choice? In my experience, you need to be both.
When you’re going through your toughest moments with your kids, is when you both need a really good friend.
They need the sort of friend who’ll stand by them, be honest with them and who they also feel has their back. You need to be that friend.
You need a friend to assure you that you can be the parent that you hoped you’d be, even if you have to be more honest than is comfortable in a difficult moment. You may need someone to reassure you that all your hard work has paid off and that the fine human being you’re now facing a tough time with, will turn out to be someone that you look forward to spending time with as you both grow older.
How can you be their friend when you’re trying to discipline or when you’re angry?
You’ve got to use all your life long experience and get off your high horse before you do anything! Step down, take a breath and ask yourself a couple of questions before you dive in to fixing whatever you think may have gone wrong.
It’s not that you’re right and they’re wrong – it’s never as simple as that!
Arguments and heated discussions never benefit from jumping in with both feet before thinking about how you really feel about what’s happened.
- how do you feel about the situation?
- what about the situation has made you feel that way?
- were you doing what they’re now doing, when you were this age?
- what can your child – and you – learn from what’s happened?
- what does your child need to hear to build their self esteem, not destroy it for the future so they can make good decisions going forward?
Your child needs you more than ever when they’re pushing you away and striving to be independent. Just like a toddler has a tantrum when they need something and don’t know how to get it – as kids grow older, they are still going through the same thing.
Each time our children grow into a new stage, they need our help in a different way, and because they’ve never needed us in this way before, they don’t know how to ask for it.
Your kids are growing up – are you ready?
We have to grow with our kids so we can relate to them in a different way. We need to encourage them to grow up, to become more independent, and to stand on their own two feet – all while still knowing that they are loved and accepted.
One of my first coaches taught me the idea that our children are more evolved than we are. They see the world with less fear, less caution and less inhibitions – until they learn otherwise – or not! They learn their boundaries from experience, from their environment, and from the people around them.
We should be encouraging our kids to take risks and to learn what they’re capable of while they’re still in the safety of home – and they have their parents to support them – and be their friend, so that when they leave home they have already learned to trust their own judgement.
I believe your child craves your friendship more than needs it. When you give it unconditionally you are able to be a better parent too.
If you are facing a situation with your child that is driving you apart, lets chat! I work with parents to help them raise thriving kids and happy families.