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  • Writer's pictureJohan Smith

Your child is not your friend

I have precious friends - gold. They mean so much to me and are always there in the easy, fun, festive times and also in the challenging, tough times. They are all my equal, hardworking and dependable. They will always cover my back, be absolutely honest with me (even if they think I’m messing up) and show up in the hard and painful times just to care and be there for me.

From what I wrote in the first paragraph, it’s very clear that I’m not writing here about my three children. Why not? It's simple: you are your child's parent, not your child's friend. They certainly cannot be this type of friend to me, and neither should they. I’m the parent and they’re the child. I

have the responsibility to be the best father possible for them. Their friends are their age.

I'm already discouraged when I hear from a dad or mom (especially moms) that her 10-year-old or 14-year-old daughter is her best friend. No! There’s an enormous difference between having a

good relationship with your child and being your child's friend. It's just not on. A 40-year-old

father with a 14-year-old best friend?! A 40-year-old mother with a 16-year-old best


A good relationship with your child is vital. It includes love and sharing delightful times and laughter. There is nothing wrong with a "nice" house. It's in fact how it should be. However, it also includes clearly defined boundaries and discipline. This means that your child may regularly dislike you. Yes, good parents know all too well: parenting isn’t easy and it’s not a popularity contest. Good parents are firm at times, strict and even angry, which will cause you to drop significantly on your child’s popularity chart.

So, dear parent, please learn: your child is not your friend. You must be the parent and your child the child. The friendship years, after lots of love and clear boundaries and discipline, happen after age 18. Do it correctly now so that you can reap the fruits of friendship with your children one day.

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