Unlike school courses, there are no Degrees awarded in this area. From the day we give birth, we are totally committed ’til death do we or they part.” Not a pretty concept, but the truth never is.
What we do know is that parents aren’t perfect; kids do not ask to be born nor do they come with an instruction manual. We nurture, feed, clothes, and guide them to the best of our ability.
Once our children become young adults, our concern escalates regarding their well-being and independence. Jerry Springer once said: “We can divorce a spouse but we cannot divorce a child.”
We worry about our toddlers getting lost in one of the aisles of a supermarket, then we worry more when we finally lose them down the aisle to the one they take as their loving spouse for life. It should be a one hundred-eighty degree situation, but somehow it returns to the three-hundred sixty
The unanswered question and concern is: when does our job actually end? There is no expiration date nor is there a final curtain for the parenting role. We figure that once they declare their independence by living on their own, we’re done here. Not the case. The see-saw of concern and responsibility is merely kicked up a notch.
Parental authority now takes a “backseat” translating into mutual respect, support and just “being there” becomes the maximum requirement. When they ask to borrow the car or borrow a few bucks with the promise of same-day payback, but it doesn’t happen, do we remind them or just let it go because they are still our kids and we must remain the one “constant” in their lives.
Flexibility is the parental tightrope. We must not display our disappointment for any reason, bearing in mind that, again, we are not their friends. Kids get temperamental and, sometimes, spiteful.
The parent, who uses spite as a retaliation tool is WRONG. This will scar the child for life. We become the boxer in the ring who goes down for the count, but never shows our pain, only affection and understanding.
When our children reach adulthood, advice, upon request only, is acceptable; however they must learn to make and live with their own decision including taking responsibility in the monetary sense as well.
At no time should “friendship” or the “best friend” factor exist or be depicted by the children. The parental role must remain intact as a supportive component; nothing more, nothing less; hence parent remains THE parent and NOT the child’s friend.
Parenting is one of the most difficult roles on Planet Earth because it is a twenty-four/seven lifetime commitment. It is not for everyone, yet once that infant is presented to us in the delivery room, life changes forever. We learn from them as they learn from us.
Defining the line between parent and friend? There is no “in stone” answer to this question. Each situation is different. Kids of all ages will always have “friends” with whom to share thoughts and feelings.
Parents are the pillars of strength who create and ensure a solid foundation. Parents remain the “silent” best friend. We provide love and positive support; hence the role-model to whom our children can turn.
Parents aren’t perfect but they are forever!