by Renée Smith, j&R Tutoring Academy

Many parents today like to boast that they are their child’s best friend. They view this relationship as a way to be a part of their child’s friendship circle, and (hopefully) privy to all their concerns, actions and inner-most thoughts.

Many of these parents are products of our current culture that encourages everyone to be tolerant, that we should not judge; and who support the policy that gives all children a trophy. These are likely the same parents who threaten to sue the school when anything untoward involves their child.

Webster defines “friend” as a close acquaintance, a person on the same side of a struggle, a supporter or sympathizer. “Parent” is defined as a father or mother, progenitor, any “thing” from which other things are derived.

In addition to love, critical roles of parents are to set boundaries, create rules, administer discipline, and yes, judge their children. How can parents properly function in these roles if they are sympathizers or supporters?

Yes, I know how difficult it is to discipline a small child. I have children, step-children and grandchildren. And how many times have you heard someone say, “This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you.” Of course, the kid doesn’t think so until they become a parent!

Do you give in to your five-year-old who does not want to go to bed, or throws a fit in the grocery store because he wants that Matchbox car so strategically placed in the check-out lane? We all do these things once in a while, but if this is regular behavior, what are you teaching your child?

Going to bed in a timely manner is one of the first lessons of schooling. So very much learning occurs in the early elementary grades. Children who arrive at school sleepy or hungry are already behind! Parents reluctant to enforce bed times are not making friends; they are creating behavioral problems for the teacher.

Free-wheeling parents who do not believe in following a schedule or enforcing behaviors will find it very challenging to convince a five-year-old that now schedules and behaviors need to be enforced. Proper behavioral training begins very early. Then when school begins the child understands there are boundaries.

Parents must understand that children who know their boundaries are much happier than those who do not. Yes, they may protest – they are children and that’s what children do – but overall, they are comforted in the knowledge of knowing the limits.

Be a parent and save the friendships for your contemporaries. Your children will be much better for it.