It sounds trite, but it really is that straightforward. I didn’t say simple, or easy, but yes it’s straightforward. Your child needs you to be their parent.
They don’t need you to be their friend. That’s what their peers are for. Children are not honest or vulnerable with their friends. Children don’t run to their friends with big scary questions. They need parents.
They don’t need you to be cool. Parents are never cool and that’s good. Drugs can be “cool”. Friends who talk back to teachers can be seen as “cool”. Netflix shows, broadway plays about philandering fathers of confederation, and Taylor Swift can all be “cool,” but they all give terrible relationship advice.
They need you to love them. Only a parent can love a child solely for who they are. Everyone else they will ever know will want something from them. Even positive things like friendship, and reciprocal love. But your child was placed into your life and there they will always remain. You can be the person who is honest with them, cares for them and loves them while asking absolutely nothing in return.
They need you to be willing to get hurt. You can be the person who makes the hard decisions that protect them. Saying no to sleepovers, or certain outings, not giving them the brand new device all their friends have, or whatever difficult decision you need to make, it will not immediately make your child like you more. But that is why you’re their parent and not their buddy.
Your child needs you to be their Parent. You get to be the one to introduce difficult topics, to hold them when they are upset, to wipe away the tears when their friends let them down, when you let them down. To be honest, straightforward, and to answer Hard Questions. To sit around the dinner table and listen to the ups and downs of their day as only you can.
Your child may not like you all the time for it. They may be embarrassed by you sometimes. But remember, nobody accepting an award says “I’d like to thank my friend Ryan who in 4th grade, told me a joke about poop. I’m here because of you Ryan!”
They thank their parents. More than anything that is what your child needs. A Parent who will raise them. Prepare them for this world. And love them through it all.
Protect your kids
Learn how to prepare them for the digital dangers they will face at our upcoming Parents Seminar!