Can You Be Friends with Your Child?

Wish I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard, Never be friends with your child. The thinking behind this, I presume, is that children need a parent’s authority; they do not need to be a confidante. True enough. However, does the separation of friend and parent give permission to treat children differently from how we treat friends?

Imagine saying to your friends:
“Mona, don’t eat so many appetizers or you’ll spoil your dinner. I worked hard on this meal. Don’t fill up on cheese and crackers. Fred, pick up your napkin. Where were you born, in a barn? Mona, did you hear me? Why don’t you ever listen to me? Stop reaching, Fred. Honestly, you make me so mad. Ok, that’s it. Hand over that iPhone until after dinner.”

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What Your Teen Wants to Hear From You


Parents of teens tear their hair out wondering what happened to that child who cooperated at least some of the time, listened once in a while, and adjusted to the limits set some of the time. Now an attitude seems to replace that child and an alien has taken over.

The thing is, your child is the same child, but she is growing up and pushing out. She must separate from her dependency on you. She must make decisions on her own, take responsibility for herself, and navigate among her world of peers.

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“Wait, aren’t I the parent here?” Using Your Parent Authority

The human child remains with a parent until the child is capable of making his own decisions about his health, safety, and well-being. The parent holds authority over this child until that time — usually through the teen years.

That’s the reason for parent authority. It is not to control the child to be who the parent wants or to demand obedience to make life easier for the parent. This leads to power struggles and rebellion or looking to others for authority and approval.

Your job as parent is to insure that your child does what she shouldn’t be expected to do on her own – simply because she’s too young.

Rick Trinkner of the University of New Hampshire has researched the types of families who raise self-confident, self-controlled, respectful children. Trinkner says,

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November ’17 Q&A – New-found Independence, Conflicting Agendas and Making Friends

New-found Independence

Q. My 3 ½ yr. old son has on ongoing heart condition that he was born with that is being controlled by daily medication (morning, afternoon & evening). He is very bright and articulate and has always been amazing at taking his drugs but over the last few weeks his independence (and determination) has increased tenfold, and he is asserting his authority by refusing to take his drugs.

I have tried everything – asking politely and explaining why he must take them, bribery, and then out of sheer panic (these are life saving drugs), yelling and forcing the drugs into him and preventing him spitting them out by restraining him! I know this is totally wrong but it gets to the point where there is no other option. After trying for an hour without success and by the time we have forced him we are all very upset and very late for nursery school and very late for work… and this is every day. How can I manage this better and just get him to agree to take them?

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When Your Child Feels Worry or Despair
Worry, Despair

Don’t go underground when you see worry or despair in your child.

What do I say to my kids when they seem consumed with worry or despair for their futures and when tragedy cuts down innocent lives? When leaders demonstrate behaviors that I work hard to steer my children away from and demonstrate intolerance where I want to teach them tolerance? And in their day-to-day lives when they complain of teachers and kids treating them unfairly or feeling pressured to do what doesn’t interest them? I feel helpless when I can’t answer their questions.

More and more I hear parents describe their children as anxious and angry, who see no reason to strive in school, who seem engulfed in worry and despair. The worry may not be voiced but shows up when they drop out of activities, lose friends and spend more time alone in their rooms gaming and on social media. Is this what’s happening to kids now because we are not tough enough on them or is this a reflection of the world we live in?

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10 Ways to Keep Up with Your Teen
Teen

Sometimes it’s all you can do to keep up with life. To keep up with your teen can seem daunting.

Your relationship with your teen can make or break your teen’s experience and relationships with peers, friends, school, and family. Research shows that connection with family is the #1 preventive factor in substance abuse, addiction, pregnancy, and school failure throughout the teen years.

Connection means that when faced with a dilemma or decision, your teen will first think what would my parents say? instead of what would my friends say? Connection does not guarantee smart decision-making—your teen is in the developmental risk taking years—but it puts you first and foremost in your teen’s mind. If your teen fears punishment, thinks you will not understand, knows she can’t talk to you, she will turn to her friends for the support and understanding she needs.

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Is your child being punished by rewards?

The school year has only just begun. It’s a time when children are excited to return to school, see their friends, meet their new teachers and feel really good about being a year older. Right? Not for all.

I received an email from a mother who said her son shoved his homework into his backpack all ripped up, said he doesn’t care or give a s*#t about his homework. She explained that the school has a color system for behavior—green, yellow, blue, and red (wonder what the blue means). Everyday her son comes home and tells her, I was good today or I was bad today.

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Empathy vs Sympathy: Do you care more about your child’s feelings or your own?

Imagine a huge hole in the ground with Man A stuck at the bottom unable to escape. Man B walks nearby and hears Man A calling for help. Man B sees Man A at the bottom of the hole. He is so upset that he jumps in the hole with Man A. Now both are upset and both are stuck at the bottom of the hole. Man C walks by and hears both A and B calling for help. Man C tells them he will be back soon. Later, Man C arrives with a ladder.

There is a fine line between sympathy and empathy but learning the difference can make huge changes in your relationship with your child.

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Self-care for Mothers is Currency for Your Children’s Future

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Mother’s Day is upon us. Cards and flowers are always nice, especially when your children have something to do with it. Or maybe that’s the day when your child doesn’t yell, You’re not my mother, and you’re not the boss of me, but instead says, You’re the best mom in the whole world. It doesn’t get much better than that.

But how are you? Are you at the end of your rope, exhausted, sucked dry, hopeless? Not only can you do something about that, but if you don’t, your children will suffer the negative effects as well as you.

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Do you spell Truth with a capital T?

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I’ve come to believe that there is no Truth with a capital T. When you’re living in a family, you either push, pull and dictate to get your capital T kind truth across or you let go and realize there are many truths, one for each member of the family. The fear is that letting go means losing your truth—what you think is right. Fear causes friction and fighting to get your truth to the top—because you’re the parent after all.

The jockeying that goes on in a family, sometimes with pain and agony, is really the process of negotiating all these truths. If negotiation doesn’t happen, some truths go unheard and unrecognized. Someone else’s truth has bullied its way through and made it the Truth, the only truth, the whole truth. When one truth is on top, everyone else’s is subverted. And we know what that leads to.

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