Positive parenting includes watching out for your child, guidance and protecting them in the best way possible. It also includes nurturing and developing a trusting and loving relationship between you and your child. Most parents want to have a close relationship with their children, but there must be boundaries so that you always remain in your role as a parent and also be respected for it.
Some parents may think that they are able to be the disciplinarian and BFF (best friend forever) all at once, but complications usually arise. This is because the line of parent and friend becomes blurred and respect for disciplinary actions starts to diminish. Once children know that they can pull on your heart strings or manipulate you to let down your rule, (because they know you long for a close relationship with them), boundaries get destroyed and parents get taken advantage of.
When the lines are blurred between kids and parents, respect and discipline tactics fly out the window which may result in an eye-rolling, rude and uncontrollable child. This doesn’t mean you have to be rigid, stern and cold with your children, but for their benefit and yours, and for the sake of your relationship, it is important to remain the parent. Here are some ways you can always remain the parent, but still have a warm, trusting and loving relationship with your kids.
The Open Door Policy
Let your kids know that they can come to you for any reason and that they can trust you with what they have to say. State that if they tell you something that you do not agree with, you will tell them and take any action necessary to help them or protect them. Kids respect honesty. Be direct with them and (most of the time) they will be direct with you. Avoid pushing your kids to tell you secrets or things they may feel uncomfortable about. Never force them. As long as they know you are there as ‘Mom’ or ‘Dad’ and not their best buddy, they will still reach out to you. Let them come to you for guidance when they need it.
It is important for Mom and Dad (even if divorced) to try to agree on disciplinary actions and stick to them. Kids actually respect consistency, so try to keep groundings and any other discipline tactics the same. (Even if in separate households) Otherwise, kids can play off each parent such as become free from a grounding at Dad’s on the weekend, when Mom actually said no TV or video games. Keep on top of the rules you set down.
Never Engage in Risky Behavior with Them
Whether they are 5 or 15, avoid doing reckless things around your kids in the hopes that you’ll appear ‘cool.’ While climbing the highest tree at the park may thrill your 8 year old son, you taking him to the emergency room for a broken leg or worse is not worth it.
Parents who have older kids should avoid behaviors such as encouraging their kids to drink alcohol with them because it is known to be ‘cool’ or ‘fun’, or taking their teenagers to places only adults should go. i.e. A bar. Partying with your kids is a surefire way to lose the respect from your child and as they grow into an adult. Set an example for your child and do healthy activities like sports with them because they are in fact ‘cool’ and can lead to a long life of healthy decisions.