Your Kids Need You​

One of the best things we can do in our child’s life is to become a trusted friend. I know, I know. The whole world is running around saying, “I’m not here to be your friend, I’m the parent!” But honestly, that is usually said when we are seeking some sort of control over our kids. Our role is not to control our kids, our role is to teach them self-control. When they were younger, we could exercise a little control, but that job was never meant to be long-term. Let’s look at a better way. 

 

I learned this with my youngest. He’s 14 years younger than the next closest sibling to him. We were riding down our little curvy road one day when he was 15 years old, and he looked over and said to me, “You know Dad, you’re one of the best friends I have.” In reality, as he has gotten a few years older, he has become one of my best friends as well. That is as it should be! Don’t fall for the, “I’ve got to be the tough parent or my kids will think I’m weak and run all over me!”

 

There is certainly a difference between being a trusted friend and “trying to be their best friend.” Few things are sillier than watching a parent begin to dress like their kids, use slang like their kids, and act childish like their kid. By using the term trusted friend, I mean someone that we enjoy spending time with, cares enough to say the hard things to us, and that we respect and listen to their opinion. They are “safe.” We should all want to be that with our kids.

 

When we are their trusted friend, we can speak into their lives and coach from a position of love, safety, and respect. 

 

Let’s look at some key things we need to develop as parents to get to that place. 

 

Our kids will say things, do things, and wear things that we may not like. Our goal isn’t to make them respond to life as we would. They are a different person than you with a different personality. We must pick and choose our battles more carefully. If you get in the habit of nagging them about everything they’re doing, you will lose the ability to be their trusted friend. No one likes someone hounding them constantly. You don’t like it and neither do they. There are some boundaries to keep in mind but these should be somewhat obvious. For example, my thinking was always governed by how my mom, my kids' Memaw, would react to seeing someone wear that.  

 

Our kids will say things we don’t like: words and slang and such. Again, I give it the “Memaw” test. I want my kids to be aware of their surroundings. My goal is to be a trusted friend, not the speech police.  

 

They may have a wreck, get a ticket, get suspended, or do something stupid. They will have heartbreaks, failures, struggles, and weaknesses. Remember to breathe. How will you react if your child disappoints you? Our tendency will be to get angry. And that isn’t a wrong emotion, but we still need to breathe. 

 

Our kids need to know that we love them, that nothing will ever change that. But you have to breathe. Life is full of highs and lows, brilliant decisions, and monumentally foolish ones. Love them and remember to breathe!

 

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Randy Pardue 

Randy Pardue is an author, speaker, and visioneer who awakens you to a hope-filled path...by helping you craft a directional blueprint for your Parenting, Marriage, Relationships, Life and Soul so that you become refreshed and confident in your life’s journey. You can contact him at randy@berefreshed.org and find more of his material at berefreshed.org. His book on parenting, Diapers To Dorms: Raising Kids You Actually Like, Who Others Like, and Who Like Themselves is available on Amazon.

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