You are a parent not a friend

Parenting Principle #2: Be a parent

As children grow older, they begin exploring their own identity. This can lead to a bit of distance between you and your child. This can be hurtful. You have worked so hard and you may sometimes feel unappreciated. Some parents try to connect with their kids by becoming lenient and acting more like a friend than a parent.

Though kids may respond well to this, it actually doesn’t benefit them in the long run. A lack of structure can lead your kids off track. As a parent, you’re responsible for your kid’s safety, health, and future. This can seem like a daunting task, but it is possible after you have implemented your values and expectations for your family.

Acting according to your values means setting clear boundaries.

Your kids will test the limits as they try to gain more independence. Having your boundaries in mind as they grow in new directions can help you remain calm and consistent through a tumultuous time.

Set and Stick to Your Boundaries

Follow these strategies to effectively implement boundaries

  • Begin by evaluating your core values. Your values tell you what is and is not okay. Just as they help you make decisions and guide your family, they also assist in clarifying boundaries that would otherwise be murky.
  • Have your boundaries ready. As your kids continue to grow, they’ll face new milestones and responsibilities. You don’t always have to rescue your kid when they’re in difficult situations. You can create boundaries about how much you’re willing to help them. This is especially important as kids grow older and need to begin supporting themselves.
  • Pay attention to your feelings and reactions. When you’re in uncharted territory, you’ll know a boundary is being crossed if you feel especially angry or uncomfortable. This can help you inform future boundaries when other similar situations occur.
  • Boundaries show that you demand respect. If you lack self-respect, you’re less likely to stand strong when your boundaries are being pushed. Maintaining boundaries helps solidify the expectations you have set into place. It also creates a healthy dynamic between you and your child.

Maintain Your Authority

When children don’t meet the family expectations, it’s time to uphold your values, your boundaries, and your authority. When your kids are testing the limits and begin talking back to you, do your best not to take it personally. If your child is frustrated with you, he may lash out in disrespectful ways. Do your best to keep your cool in these heated situations.

Even though your children are unpredictable and emotional, you can still maintain stability for them by remaining consistent. When you remain calm, your kids will pick up on this. Though they may be going through a difficult time, they will apply what they learn from you to their future situations.