‘Best Friend’ Parenting
In some of my blogs’ comments, I have written about the dangers of Best Friend Parenting. For those of you who don’t know what this is, it’s when a parent becomes their kids’ best friend. There is nothing wrong with being best friends with your kids but it could have some serious implications when it comes to disciplining. Here’s an example…
On Saturday morning, our 16 year old Brazilian International Student came home after spending the night at her friend’s house. They were also mostly International students. She looked a little green around the gills and confessed to me that she was very hung over before she took off to the wash room to toss her cookies. My initial response to her admission was to laugh at her situation and recommend hang over cures.
As host parents to these students, we are expected to temporarily fill in for their biological parents. At the back of your minds, it’s easy to think, ‘Well I’m not really your parent so let’s just be friends for the few months you are here.’ I fell into that trap and and became more of a friend, (not a best friend mind you) than a dad. So here I was faced with a situation that needed a parent’s intervention, not a friend’s sympathy.
I called my wife, as she was out and discussed the issue with her. We both agreed that we had to deal with this matter in a serious way, especially given the examples we were trying to set with the ‘other teenager’. By then, I had decided that I was going to discard the ‘friend’ attire and be a parent. If I didn’t, daddy would be a big failure.
We had the meeting where we told our student that her under aged drinking would not be tolerated. I also went a step further by telling her that until further notice, she would not be allowed to sleep over at her friends’. She agreed with everything that was said, especially since we reiterated that failure to follow the rules have resulted in students being sent back to their countries. (We have no other issues with her and she is a pleasure to have around the house).
In most cases, we chose to be best friends with our kids to booster our popularity. We want them to fully accept us and be their go-to person. We sometimes do this while sacrificing respect and control. Our kids’ BFFs should be one of their peers. (in my opinion).
Parenting is full time and sometimes unpopular job. If we work hard at it, we can reap big dividends.