Be your child’s parent first, and not just their friend

Dina sent me this article from the UK Daily Mail.


A generation of children are growing up badly behaved because their parents are too afraid to discipline them, a leading clinical psychologist and broadcaster has warned.

The rise of the so-called ‘friend-parent’ – who tries to be their child’s equal rather than their boss – means youngsters are approaching adolescence ill-equipped for the read world, according to Professor Tanya Byron.

Professor Byron, who featured on the BBC series House of Tiny Tearaways, said she is treating children at her clinic with behavioural problems as a direct result of such parenting tactics.

She said: ‘Children as young as six are brought to my clinics by parents who are anxious that any time they try to set a boundary, the child becomes distressed.

‘In this age of the “friend-parent”, such children are then swaddled, protected and essentially regressed for fear of upsetting them.’

She said parents are so preoccupied with getting their children on their side that they are waiting on them hand and foot – denying them important life skills.

[…]She warned that without boundaries and chores, a child’s development could be impaired.

Here’s something about the importance of having a stay-at-home mother who is engaged in educating the children and forming their character:

Psychologist Dr Aric Sigman said the ‘friend-parent’ phenomenon could be explained by the fact that women are choosing to start families when they are older.

He said: ‘There is the feeling that by saying “no” to your children or being in charge somehow damages your relationship with them.

‘Parents today, in particular mothers, are much older than ever before. They are also likely to be working as well.

‘The result is children are seeing their parents for less hours a day, so if the children start displaying challenging behaviour because they haven’t had the attention they need, they feel guilty and let it go, rather than disciplining them for it and risk them getting upset.’

Definitely the permissiveness of working mothers and the marginalization of fathers in the home is a huge factor in explaining why children are so immature.

This article makes me think about the way that I am always trying to lead other Christians and get them to read more, learn more and carry out better plans so that they are more effective as Christians. I like to push them in a particular direction, give them rewards for progress, and set boundaries to keep them on the path. If they are going off the path, then I feel justified in disciplining them by removing privileges or rewards and giving them the silent treatment, etc. Some people call that bullying – but it’s really just leading. And that’s what parents do – they are tough about leading their children to grow stronger.

It is very important that parents have a vision for what they want their children to achieve, and then take the time to set up and explain boundaries for, using evidence so that the boundaries are not viewed as arbitrary. Parents should be leading the children using structured activities  so that the right views are formed and confirmed by experience. Spending time with children is important so that they know that you care about them. That will not happen by accident, it takes study to know how to be convincing, and it takes planning to engineering activities that will give someone the experiences they need to see what the things that we want them to believe are true.

9 thoughts on “Be your child’s parent first, and not just their friend”

  1. Perhaps you’d like to tell the UK government to change the law. I was told off by a Social Worker for raising my voice to my granddaughter when I had told her to do something three times and she wouldn’t. I didn’t hit her, I didn’t shout at her, just raised my voice slightly.


  2. You should never try to be your child’s friend? I agree that you should never try to be their friend and neglect your job as a parent, but when (if at any time) being their friend doesn’t prevent you from disciplining and guiding them, why should you avoid it?


  3. Read my post Tracy, most forms of discipline are now illegal in UK. Fine discipline them, then get your kids taken away. Luckily I brought my kids are before these stupid laws came into being.


      1. I have also been told on another site that I’m terrible because I occasionally smack my foster children here in Ukraine. They’re told the first time they do something why they shouldn’t do it, next time they are warned, through gritted teeth that if they do it again I (or Len) will smack them, if they do it again they are given three sharp smacks on the rump, but I’m told we are being violent to them. I don’t often have to smack them, cos they know if we say we will, we will.


          1. I know I am, but I’ve been told I’m a bully on one web site. As I say, I was told off by a Social Worker for raising my voice to my granddaughter. She also, in a round about way, threatened to have my Ukrainian foster daughter away. The only thing that stopped it was that I told her that if she did I would get in touch with the Ukrainian Embassy and she would cause an international incident. Unfortunately, a think a lot of this thinking is now coming into place in America. The Lord help both our countries in the next generation. The kids are going to grow up thinking they can do what they want with no consequences.


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