Setting the Boundaries between being a parent and being your child’s friend
There is a balance that must take place in a parent’s relationship with their child(ren). Parents must maintain an authoritative role in their child(ren)’s life. Many parents struggle with finding balance because they want to be “friends” with their child(ren) and they end up leaning on their child as a confidant. This leads to them being permissive in their parenting. Permissive parenting yields conflict and struggle for children and impacts every aspect of their lives, not just their relationship with their parents. To avoid this, parents must set clear boundaries to provide their child with the best environment to learn and grow. Here are 4 quick tips for setting boundaries with your children.
- Communicate expectations – Children benefit from having clear, realistic, expectations. It allows them to feel safe and secure, and it impacts their self-esteem positively.
- Be consistent – Your consistency as a parent allows your child to know what to expect. They can think through scenarios and make good choices. Consistent routines help to teach them structure, and provide a good foundation for them to learn to organize their time.
- Follow through – It is important to follow through when a boundary is crossed, or an expectation is not met. This can look like having a discussion with your child, or enforcing a consequence.
- Have patience – Just like you, your child is a human being and is bound to slip up occasionally. Bad days, mistakes, and strong emotional reactions happen. It is important to have patience with them (and yourself). An opportunity for growth and connection often presents itself during these moments.
While you want to be emotionally available to your child, recognize that they are not your peer; your child should not be your confidant. Burdening them with issues that are too heavy will cause them anxiety and degrade their confidence in your ability to be the parent they need. Being a reliable parent to your child is far more beneficial than being their “friend.”
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