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Friday, May 6, 2016

Being a parent, not a friend

Saturday, February 11, 2012

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.

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Nicely said!

Our number one house rule is must know where you are at all times--and that hasn't changed even with cell phones.

-- Posted by sun34shine on Sat, Feb 11, 2012, at 5:47 AM

I certainly agree with what you're saying, Randy. Our oldest son, 19, is autistic so issues with her were different from what others might experience with their teenage boys. Not that we're finished by any stretch of the imagination.

We're facing some challenges with our daughter, age 16 by the end of the month. We have invested lots into their lives when they were young, and we've been rewarded in our relationships with them, for the most part. I guess where I don't quite know how much to turn loose -- by the time I was my daughter's age, I did not have my mother at home, and my father worked two jobs. Before I was seventeen, my mother had died. I was an only child and had theretofore been rather low maintenance and "good" so I was basically on my own, though I didn't have the bills to pay. I made some good decisions, some very poor ones, but I feel I benefited from the independence.

I'm certainly not planning to go anywhere before my children are grown and somewhere between middle aged and kind of old, probably, but one never knows how life will unfold. I guess with my daughter, I err on the side of independence. I'd rather she take her lumps from some poor decisions while she's still at home and we, her parents, can help her straighten them out. I know her well enough that while I understand peer pressure can be a great temptation, I know she won't be driving drunk, getting into a car with such a driver, playing with weapons, doing drugs, selling drugs, and is highly unlikely to ever get drunk or even smoke anything.

That's certainly enough of a comment. But I do wonder of the helicopter parents about (and I'm not saying you and Leah fit that description) at what point do you let go? My husband and I, due to our home situations, kind of were let go at 15/16 years old. We made it. We plan to do better by our children. Where is the line? Do they suddenly make their own choices at 18?

-- Posted by AmyPeterson on Sat, Feb 11, 2012, at 12:06 PM

Very nicely said. I agree 100%.. I want to know who my kids are with, where they are and what they are doing if they are not at school or home. Parents that let their kids run wild make me pretty angry. It's these kids that are drinking, smoking (more than cigarettes) and getting arrested. I have started screening my kids' new friends online @ Iowa Courts.net, just to find our if they have a record.

Our kids are our future, not only that--they are OUR CHILDREN!!! It's pretty sad that some parents don't care enough to want to know who their kids' friends are and what they are doing, let alone care if they are breaking curfew, going to parties where alcohol is served, etc... Parents should be teaching their children why this kind of lifestyle is detrimental, not encourage it.

-- Posted by lyndah1 on Thu, Feb 16, 2012, at 1:00 PM

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Randy Cauthron
One Man's Perspective