Saturday, May 29, 2010

Parent or Friend?

I believe it is a Parents responsibility to teach, train, mentor, praise and sanction their children as appropriate. I do not believe children possess the education, life experience, wisdom or judgment of a well adjusted adult Parent. Parents are morally and legally responsible for their children and their children's actions, and thus, must assume a position of authority over their children. Children are NOT their Parents equals. Children do not see, process information or understand the world, in a way that adults do. They cant...and should not be expected to.

It appears that Parents have become more and more concerned with “Befriending” their children rather than “Parenting” them.

I observe this behavior routinely both in my personal life and in the course of my duties at work. It appears increasingly difficult for Parents to establish boundaries, rules, and standards of behavior for their children. This difficulty appears to stem from the almost certain dissatisfaction that the Parent will be confronted with, when the expectations are presented to the child. (nothing new here!) For a variety of reasons, many Parents just seem to find it more “comfortable” to yield to their children's protests vs. “Sticking to Their Guns” and acting in the capacity of the “The Strict Parent”.

Consider the following examples:

Children are allowed access to the Internet as well “Social Networking” sites that most adults aren't mature enough to manage properly! (and often don't) How can we expect children between 8 and 16 yrs of age to somehow do better?! These “Social Networks” expand and exaggerate the normal sphere of interpersonal relationships that children used to learn slowly and in person, through their interactions in school.

Children are allowed to have cell phones, even as young as 1st and 2nd grade!? Parents love to cite “emergencies” as the reason their son or daughter “need” cell phones, but its just another example of “I cant say no”. In short, most Parents simply lack the fortitude to do what is in their child's best interest and work harder at presenting justification, than they work at taking a stand!

Cell phones allow for even more “Social Networking” by way of text, pictures and wi-fi access. It teaches our children to communicate within the sterile confines of a screen...lacking in context and intonation and verbal cues etc. It also provides for a level of privacy that is ill advised and completely inappropriate for children. I'm thinking that there isn't much good being said or read by children in the wee hours of the morning as they text and send photos back and forth under their covers as their Parents sleep. Of course, this occurs only with “other peoples” children! :)

It is simple. If a Parent isn't setting the boundaries and standards of conduct for a child, then schools, friends and “Social Networking” are doing it instead. Do these other people have you or your child's best interests in mind? They certainly have your child's attention! Do you?...or are you afraid to lose their approval when you “put your foot down”?

Your child is not your friend, they are your RESPONSIBILITY!  Quit being a friend...your child will have plenty of friends throughout their life.

How many Parents will they have?