What’s Wrong with Being My Child’s Friend?

“I’m my child’s best friend!”

I recently share a snippet of this article on Instagram…you can check it out here!

Permissive parents, or those who tend to want to be close friends with their children, are very relaxed when it comes to discipline. They do not punish their children because, well, “kids will be kids”! Right?

Permissive parents give their children anything they desire, toys, tech, candy, because they want their children to like them and appreciate them.

None of these parenting characteristics is inherently wrong or bad. However, there must be balance. The permissive parent is overly relaxed and too lenient. They threaten punishment whenever their child behaves badly, but when it comes time to act on the threat, they say, “next time…”

This pattern reinforces bad behavior. If no negative consequences follow a child’s acting out, then the behavior keeps going. This is true even if punishment follows bad behavior every once in a while.

To combat bad behavior, provide more structure and guidance. Be consistent in your discipline. If you say you’re going to use time out the next time your toddler throws a toy, use time out!

Let’s talk about play time…it isn’t bad to let your child run and play and act like a kid. But boundaries should be established to show your child which behaviors are appropriate for the specific time and place. Obviously, climbing all over everything is better suited to the playground than the grocery store or dentist office!

Boundaries help our children feel safe.

If you think you’re showing them love by allowing them to do whatever they want…you’re wrong. Children and teens need structure. Not only does this help them feel safe, it also gives them room to develop a balanced character and personality. Rather than them trying to fit into a huge sphere of influence, you are providing a smaller, more manageable realm of possibilities for them to choose from. This causes less anxiety and greater peace for your developing child.

If you feel compelled to give your child something to earn his love, don’t buy something…give your time. Toys and candy are temporary pleasures. Technology is obsolete within the week! But, the gift of your attention and warmth will last a lifetime.

Your time is the most valuable asset you have and just like everything else on earth, it is limited. However, unlike money and clothes and food, time does not replenish itself. We cannot earn more of it. So, when you give your time to your children, you are truly communicating how much you value them.

Finally, as a permissive parent, you may want to be liked by your child and all of her friends. But remember: you are an adult and you bear the burden of responsibility to keep those kids safe. Don’t be the “cool parent” who let’s kids drink alcohol in the basement and crash for the night. Alcohol can seriously damage the developing brain.

Consider this too: a friend of a friend was recently sued for five million dollars. The reason? He had a birthday party at his home and served alcohol to his guests. One of his guests left the party drunk and killed himself and his girlfriend in a car crash. The girlfriend’s parents sued. Don’t let that happen to you or anyone under your supervision and care.

If you want your children to love you and appreciate you, show up at every game with a big foam #1 finger and orange slices! Paint your face and cheer like a crazy person!

You’re heading in the right direction, my dear permissive parent!

Temper your niceness with some firm guidance.

Establish those safe boundaries for your child to develop within.

Give your child love and attention, rather than stuff.

You’ll see a marked improvement in his or her behavior and you’ll notice too that your relationship will blossom!

For another discussion about permissive parenting, please visit Dr. Laura over at Aha Parenting.


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