It’s more important while they’re young to protect them and instill values.
I am not my children’s friend. You see, I am their parent.
Now, that might sound harsh to you. Perhaps you are your child’s best friend. I want to be that for my own children (and I have 6 of my own, plus over 40 children from foster care, over the years.) But not now, not yet.
Now, I simply want to be their parent.
Sure, I will play with them. Roll on the ground and laugh with them. Watch TV with them. Dance with them, and sing with them. Yes, I will have fun with them. But, my role at this point in their young lives is to be their parent, to be the adult.
I am the one who is guiding my children to be the best they can be now, so when they become adults, themselves; they can contribute to society in a meaningful and productive fashion. I will teach my children the difference between right and wrong. I will teach my children the realities of consequences when they make good choices, and bad ones. I will praise my children when they do the right thing, and discipline them in a consistent manner, doing so with love. As a parent, my children will know that making poor choices and bad decisions will lead to consequences.
I will seek out teachable moments, and share those with my children. I will set an example for my children of how to treat others. As a parent, I will help my children with their homework, but in no way will I ever do it for them. When they perform well in school, I will celebrate along with them. When they fail, I will show them how they can do better the next time.
As a parent, I will not spoil my children with money or material items, but will do so instead with love. They will know that they are loved every day – unconditionally. My children will also learn the importance of hard work, responsibility, and integrity. They will have chores and responsibilities in the house each day, and will have expectations placed upon them.
Part of my role of a parent is to provide for my children and to protect them from harm. This includes the dating scene for my five girls. I will raise them in a way where they will respect their bodies and themselves. At the same time, I will not be afraid to say that they cannot go “out with someone” who does not respect them with the respect I feel they deserve. I am not afraid to say to a boy, “Nope, sorry. You can’t take out my daughter.” My son will be expected to treat girls, and women, with the utmost respect and integrity. I will set a curfew for them and expect my children home at a certain time, and will demand that of them when they go out with friends and on dates. I will expect them to call in when they are running late, and encourage them to text or call when they feel troubled, or uncomfortable.
I will teach them the importance of saying “please” and “thank you,” in all circumstances. As a parent, I will expect and demand that my children use the best manners possible, both in my house and wherever my children should go and, with whoever they should speak to.
I will monitor what my children watch on TV, what they access on the computer and in social media, and what they listen to. I will expect them to go to church with the family each Sunday morning. When they are sick, I will care for them. When they are worried, stressed, concerned, or struggling, I will pray for them. In fact, I will pray for them daily, and will pray for their future spouses, that they are raised with integrity, respect, kindness, and love, as well.
No. I am not my children’s friend. When they are older and become adults themselves, I hope to be their friend.
For now, though, I am their parent.
I am their parent, and I am blessed.