Navigating your way through the barriers of parent and child relationships can be difficult. We want to be in the know about what is going on in their life, but we also want to tread lightly as not to make things too casual with our kids that they start seeing us as a friend and not a parental figure. Acting like your child’s friend may allow them to only see you as their peer and your parenting power becomes equal to theirs; at the same time, we also want to our children to be able to come to us with anything. Being close with your children is always something we encourage, thus navigating the course between parent and friend is not an easy one.
As parents, we immerse ourselves our kid’s daily routines, their friend groups, the daily gossip, their school work, EVERYTHING. Often times, some of us may act a little too friendly with our kids and a little less parental. That’s the fine line we are all afraid to cross. Am I right?
This isn’t rocket science, we know that children, at any age, need discipline, they need parenting, these kids didn’t just pop out of us and know what is going on in the world. Parenting isn’t about being ‘the cool mom’ (although we all secretly want to be the cool mom), parenting is about raising children who are going to go out in the world and NOT be assh****. It’s up to parents to set boundaries, to teach children about success, responsibility, respect and being accountable. We aren’t saying don’t be friends with your kids but we are saying stop trying to be their BFF – if parenting was as easy as a friendship then we wouldn’t be having this conversation.
When navigating your way through the trenches of parenthood it’s important to remember that boundaries are one of the key tools to ensuring you gain ‘cool mom’ status without venturing into BFF status. We put together a few little tips and tricks to help you out!
Being trustworthy doesn’t have to be the game of cross your heart and hope to die when it comes to sharing with your kids. It is more important to back up your words with action – children are visual and need to see to believe. If you say one thing and do another, they will trust you less, in turn resulting in them excluding you from more. If you are setting up rules for the household take some time to include them in the process, ask them what rule they’d like the family to follow (negotiation can be your best friend). If your house rule has homework and chores before socializing, honour that, they will take notice of how often you follow through on promises and rules. It’s the perfect opportunity to allow them the rule of an extended curfew on the weekends – together your rules can work together and trust can be built knowing that both sides are meeting the rules.
When giving kids direction, we often find ourselves annoyed that they didn’t do something exactly as we would have; the idea of doing it yourself if you want it done right isn’t always easy when we are managing a household, sometimes we have to hand over the reins on specific duties. When it comes to directing our kids, we have to remember the KISS method, Keep It Simple, Stupid! Children need precise direction. If you want the laundry changed over and folded, then get specific but keep it simple! Try, “Fold the dry laundry and bring the basket of clothes to my bedroom. The washed clothes can be put in the dryer and set to start drying.” Things like this can even be made into a list and posted in areas of the home that everyone uses to ensure no confusion. By the time the kids have heard these instructions a couple of times it is likely that they will be on board with the way you run things.
Now, we don’t think appropriate behaviour needs rewarding- you wouldn’t reward your child for being kind to someone; however, it is important to let your children know that you are taking notice to the appropriate/positive behaviour they are putting out into the world. We are quick to jump on them when they do something wrong and rarely commend them when they have done something positive. Take a moment to let them know you see the positive things they are doing and that their good behaviour is not going unnoticed. This type of praise is going to help re-enforce how positive and happy they feel when using acting like a young adult.
Honestly, setting boundaries like these don’t have to be a death sentence for parents trying to make it in the world of cool with their kids. It IS possible to set boundaries and have a good time! Let’s be OK to set those boundaries but also let loose and have fun with our kids, parenting can’t be all work and no play, after all!