I know on reading this there will be as many of you disagree as agree with my viewpoint, but hear me out… I am fully aware that my stand on this subject will be related to my upbringing and my personal beliefs and values, but I have also worked with hundreds of teenagers and young people and have some experience of the negative side effects of absent parenting.
However, be warned, it is a rant!
When did parents morph into best friends? I am fed up of listening to parents share their disappointment about how their kids don’t tell them EVERYTHING about their latest night out/boyfriend/festival adventure etc etc. They are not supposed to! You are part of their life to teach, nurture, discipline, direct and inspire. You are not their keeper, monitor, fixer or boss!
Best friends share all the details, having secrets from Mum and Dad is part of growing up, you are not supposed to read their diaries, route around their room when they are out, read all their text messages or hack into their social media accounts. You are supposed to create an environment of trust, respect and possibility.
Children of any age do not need any more best mates, they need parents. Responsible adults who set boundaries, act as a sounding board, define a moral compass and create a road map. Someone has to say no occasionally and teach morals, manners and common sense. You are not in a popularity contest, you are a role model and sometimes you have to lay down the law.
And the biggy – children are supposed to leave the nest and live independently, preferably before they hit 25! I have heard all the reasons and challenges of getting a foothold on the property ladder but this is not your problem it is a challenge for them. How will they ever develop any emotional resilience if you protect and shield them from every major decision? They need to fail in order to learn and grow.
My plea to all the hard working, caring parents out there is this – Be brave and step away from over protecting, controlling and fixing.
You cannot and are not supposed to ‘get down with the kids’. You role is far more important than that. Being a Mum or Dad is enough, honest!