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On this journey through life, we handle everything quite well until we reach marriage and then children arrive. It may seem a very pessimistic idea, but the reality is that neither in school nor at the university are we taught how marriage works or how to be parents, for that matter. There is no official or respected education, with certifications and qualifications, for these two crucial roles in life. This is a real shame, and I hope that in this new era of technology, it becomes possible to institute this much-needed education. Anyway, today I want to emphasize not on marriage (we will leave this topic for an upcoming article), but on my ideas on the subject of parents who are, or want to be, friends with their children.

I heard many couples boasting about being good friends with their children. Without a doubt, being friends with your kids seems like a great idea, but the results are usually devastating for them whether they are small or already teens.

It is not healthy to change the role of a parent to that of a friend. It must be clear in our lives that these people we bring to this earth are our children and we are their parents; We are not bringing friends or partners. We will always be their parents and they will always be our children. If we change our role as parents to that of friends, we are distorting the parent-child relationship, an extremely important relationship for the well-being of your children.

Changing to a friend role can also happen when one of the parents is not present in the household and one of the children takes on that vacant role, but it is not their place to do that. This will affect everyone’s future, the child, and those of the brothers or sisters who saw the brother as a father, or the sister as a mother. But it doesn’t stop there; it will affect the present mother or father as well.

Children only have two parents and what children need the most is parents, not friends. They can, and often do, have many friends, and they will always be a part of their lives. But by nature, children have only two parents, at best, but quite often only one is alive or present.

Now, we know that a child always has two genetic parents, but the reality of life is that those people are not always the ones who play the role of parents. After all, a parent is the person who fulfills that role or serves as such in practice. It is already clear that children should not assume this role. However, the new husband or new wife can assume the role of parent. In this case, the same principles should be applied and they will obtain excellent results too.

As I said at the beginning, educating and raising children is not an easy task, especially when you did not have a school to teach you this and were never specifically trained to be a parent. We must really demand this from schools and education institutions – classes about how to be parents. These classes should include: responsibility, direction, leadership, personal development, values, etc. And, moreover, I think it stands to reason that if you need to obtain a license to drive a car, it would be even more important to require a license to be able to have or raise children. A child is a life that is in your hands, and this life can be directed towards destruction or realization. Furthermore, the life of a child is one that, in turn, will directly affect many others, such as their partners, their children (your grandchildren) and others around them. In many ways, raising a child is more dangerous than driving a car or flying a plane. As a matter of fact, a pilot is required to attend theory classes and to have logged many hours of flying with a certified instructor, before they become a licensed pilot. It is a pity that even in this century, and with all the technological and educational advances, we continue to exercise the important role of parents without any well-founded knowledge. How many people became parents just because they got pregnant? That clear sign of irresponsibility alone should be enough for those parents to have to immediately take intensive paternity courses. They should be closely monitored in a way in which that irresponsibility does not transfer onto the children they are raising. But irresponsibility is not to blame only when you made a mistake and a baby was born, it is also a factor when, for whatever reason, and whether you are married or not, you bring a human being into this world, without knowing what the demand is and without having prepared yourself for such an important role. Let me tell you that just having seen the example your parents set forth is definitely not enough.

Thanks to the evolution in the world, Internet and the better education we are receiving, young people are more aware of the commitment of marriage and the responsibility of raising children. However, there is a long way to go until we understand that children need their parents to play the role of parents and not that of friends. We have to get to the root of the problem to understand why our children need us as parents and not friends. Let’s understand what role parents play in their children’s lives.


The role of a father or mother is based on authority. There is an implicit authority placed on the parents, and it must be understood by children from an early age. It is this authority that they respect and from which they receive guidance, advice, direction, training, love, example, trust, security, etc. This authority lasts forever; No matter the age of your child, it is always there and, many times, even after the parents are no longer with them. There are many studies that have proven that the authority figure of a parent is excellent for the development of children and that it is one of the best indicators for the people’s success in the long run.

How do we get them to learn and know this authority but also abide by it?

Herein lies the most important principle. Parents are here to serve their children, not to use them. And children are not there to do what parents like or want just because. Many times, we want to handle our children as if they were soldiers under our command. We try to force this authority, but without any act or attitude of service. Actually, this service work is the most important thing a parent should do for a child. It is that attitude of service that maintains the authority over the years. This will yield lasting respect that the children will have for their parents until the day the parents die and even beyond then. Having a heart and attitude of service are the key to make your child listen to you; This will make your advice important to them. A parent who does not serve his children, will not have authority, will have not have a say in any subject and will be rejected by their children.

To serve your kids is not to submit to them and their every whim or lose authority, quite the opposite; it is to give them a good example of values ​​and it is the way they feel and see the support you give them so that they can achieve their dreams. The moment you think about bringing a daughter or a son into this world, you must think that it is time to serve this human being 100%; they are in your hands. This is the only attitude that will make this precious being become everything that you have achieved and are achieving, everything you learned and that you are learning, plus the full potential he or she has, to go even further and make this world a better one.

Besides serving, you must be careful not to grow old. You can’t get old; you must stay current and young until the day of your death. You cannot grow old in your mentality; You cannot sit in a comfortable position and settle on your paradigms as if they were true for this new era in which our children live. You cannot become hardened and rigid. Adaptation and change to new forms must be your daily life. You cannot think that your children have to change to conform to the way you do things, your old way. You cannot demand anything if you do not change. You have to keep up with the times, know them well and live them to the fullest. You must be there with your children at all times without getting old, without being obsolete. You can read more about this topic in another article I wrote called “The Generational Gap.” If you have aged, you cannot be of service. If you become outdated and want your children to listen to you, it will have to be by force, it will be by pride, by stubbornness. That will be the moment when they move away from you. That is the moment when they know that you no longer have authority and they just will not listen to you.

Many couples who have children see this path as very difficult, and that is the reason they decide to be friends with their children and have an overly permissive relationship as parents.

What role do friends play?

Friendships, in general, are relationships of equal hierarchical level and that maintain an openness, intimacy and equal communication in both directions. Having friends is very healthy and every child should enjoy having many. However, it is good to understand that, for the most part, friends also help cover-up excesses or bad attitudes. They are not focused on respecting values, or looking after your child’s future. After all, friends have no responsibility for each other and, in many cases, are more oriented towards enjoying the present moment to the fullest. Now, when I say “you should not put yourself in the role of ‘friend,’” it does not mean that you are going to behave in an authoritarian or cold way with your children. Quite the contrary, your attitude must be one that leads them to trust us and feel they can open up to us and share anything, from the most trivial to the most serious, worrying or intimate issues. However, it is very important to understand that, unlike the relationship with a friend, the parent-child relationship is a one-way street. Children can tell you everything and trust you in a 100% open way, but parents cannot talk to their kids about any subject or make a child their “confidante.” There are many things that a parent must keep to themselves or share with the children once they have reached an appropriate age and when they have the level of maturity to assimilate such information. We do this to take care of children both mentally and physically. There are things, even, that are not subject to be told to the children at a certain age, but are rather things that the parent should keep to themselves and talk to people of his age, or in some cases, therapists or psychologists.

When you become friends with your children and do everything as a friend, you enter into superficial conversations with them and spend time without closeness, without value. You tend to then let them treat you like a friend, calling you names or saying anything they want without respect. They challenge you to partake in inappropriate behaviors, just as they do with their other friends. They will likely make fun of your advice or your guidance. At any point, when you consider yourself their friend, they may have disrespectful attitudes until it becomes more physical with time. Perhaps it starts with a slap on the back of your neck to get your attention, or many other things that are common among friends. They will do stupid things and expect you to approve of them. Friends are often trying to make you break the rules and trample the values. They see no limits on what they can do. Even good friends have a relaxed relationship; they do stupid things and make big mistakes that will eventually catch up to them and could even be very destructive for their lives.

Good friends may be concerned about the welfare of the child, but a good parent works not only for the happiness and health of the child in the present, but also for the future. A good parent wants their children to enjoy the present, but also to have a bright and successful future.

In short, it is good to understand that only you can exercise the role of a parent over your children, and that they need their parents even more than they need friends. They need to have a solid rock foundation to be able to build their way of thinking, their ideas, their goals and their lives in general. The relationship can, and should, be one of great affection, patience, sensibility and understanding, so the child or young person can develop the best way mentally and emotionally. Being friendly and fun does not mean you have to be exactly their “friend;” they love you and need you more as a parent.


Author yecidbenavides

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