The greatest challenge about being a parent in today's culture is dealing with the poor examples established by other parents when it comes to blurring the lines between being a parent and being a friend to their children.
I think it's certainly possible to do both, but should there come a time when the two roles must clash, the responsibility of being a parent must rule the day.
Sadly, as I listen to tales from my teenage children - and even in some respects from my elementary age boys - I fear the role of parenthood is sometimes taking a back seat to being a bud.
My wife and I constantly hear that we're too strict. We don't let our teens run free like the parents of so many of their friends do. We tell our kids "no" when everyone is saying yes.
Some of this, I attribute to my children's ongoing attempts to get me to change my mind. I find it hard to believe that every other parent in Spencer and the surrounding area just turn a blind eye to everything their child does. I'm guessing that some of my fellow parents out there reading this hear the same stories when they dare to tell their child, "no."
That's not to suggest that in some cases, there are parents who do turn their offspring loose on the world - not really caring what they do - unless of course they get caught. Then it's the school's fault, the cop's fault, etc.
Those people do exist. I've heard them in action. The "not my little Johnnie" crowd.
Perhaps we're out of touch. I want to know where my children are at all times. When they don't communicate that information to me, they find themselves in a bit of hot water. I'm told that's unreasonable by today's standards.
We also work to keep our children out of situations designed to compromise their integrity. I've been informed such protectiveness is unnecessary.
And I guess in the world of pop culture - with television, movies and music portraying parents as bumbling fools, easily duped by their mentally superior youth - well, maybe "they" are right.
But I don't live by the committee of they. And I'm not worrying about my kids considering me a friend right now. Being a parent figure is much more important.
I know I'm not alone in my belief, but I fear at times, as I look around me, the number of those who agree might be dwindling.