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We’ve been raised to be our child’s friend. People always think a mother should be best friends with her daughter, and a father should be his son’s buddy. While some criticism was directed to this parenting method that indicating the role of a parent should be exclusively a mother or a father. We spoke to Rahet Bally’s positive parenting expert, Rana Hany, to get her opinion on this important matter.
Should I be my child’s friend or mother?
According to the positive discipline approach, ideally, you should be both your child’s parent and friend at the same time. However, that’s easier said than done.
Hany recommends considering the following approach:
Avoid the typical-mom attitude
Don’t over-criticize or lecture all the time. This will have a negative impact and won’t lead you anywhere. Instead, give your children the guidance and support they need, while keeping your cool and being understanding. Remember there will be times when it will be okay for your child to be mad at you.
Don’t be a know-it-all kind of mother
Nowadays, children around the world are experiencing things that we didn’t when we were their age. So, don’t give them the “I’m your mother and I know best” attitude because, believe it or not, you might not know better.
Set clear boundaries and follow through with them
You’re all living in a home that has rules that every family member should respect and follow. Set clear boundaries that should be respected by all family members including yourself. There are strict red lines that shouldn’t be crossed by anyone, and when applying this, never take it back. Stick to your rules so your children can get used to respecting your boundaries.
Don’t forget to be their friend
It’s important to actually have fun with your children and show them that you know how to have a good time. Be their friend; go out with them, laugh with them, and watch a movie together. Have fun and show them your forever-young spirit. Talk and listen without judgment like a friend would do. But most importantly, don’t forget to build trust.
The key here is to be a mother and friend at the same time.
Be their mother and friend simultaneously. This means that you need to be kind and firm at the same time. Unlike the common belief that you can be firm in a situation and cool in another, you have to be both at the same time in every situation. That’s a core value in positive discipline.
If your child wants to cross one of the boundaries you previously set, you need to refuse that kindly. Don’t use the “No, because I said so” approach. Instead, explain to them that you understand how they feel while explaining logically why it isn’t possible. This is very important so as to prevent a child from developing an intentional challenge, especially that the power-struggle between the mom and her children escalates as they grow up. They need to feel that you are their cool and understanding friend whom they can trust while maintaining respect for you as a mother.
Further reading: My Daughter Is In Love with a Teenage Boy. What Should I Do?