Parenting Series- You Are Not Your Child’s Buddy…

The neglectful parent, the dominant parent and the permissive parent. We all pretty much fall into one of these categories to some extent. Hopefully we only have some traits though and arent completely ruled by one of these. Hopefully we all have a good base when it comes to parenting but maybe we slip into one of the above styles on occasion. At any rate today in the parenting series we will tackle a very common problem which probably leans toward the permissive parent, which is the ” I’m your buddy” parenting style.

This style is very tempting for several reasons; first off, it is the path of least resistance. It requires the least effort on our part (at first) and provides the most reward as well from our child.
This parent is likely to say something like this to their child who is running late – ” Its ok honey, I will finish your work for you, you can go to your friends now” or ” Oh, Johnny you still havent finished your homework? Ok, I will just tell the teacher you werent feeling good”.
At first glance it may not seem like the end of the world, but I can assure you from personal experience ( I have this friend ) that it comes at a price later on. The things we think we are doing to show our child love and affection now, actually can damage their coping skills later in life. For example, if I train my son (and we all are training our kids in some way whether we know it or not) to think that when the going gets tough someone will come to his rescue, I have really just set him up for failure.

In the real world, nobody will be yelling from the next room that they will finish my chores, or that I can skip my homework. That only happens in the ” I’m your buddy” parenting world. In the real world our kids will be sadly disappointed to find out that they will lose that job for not doing the work. The real truth is that they will fail that test or class for not finishing homework. So what we thought we were doing to bond with our child was really setting them up for failure, which we would never intentionally would do, but we are.

So how do we maintain a good relationship with our children and still teach them proper coping skills for the real world that is facing them? We keep things real. We tell it like it is and expect what the world will expect from them. This will teach them what is going to be required and also set them up for success. However it will become apparent that taking the high road as a parent and setting realistic expectations for them may not be as cozy of a route as the ” I’m your buddy route”. If you are looking for the feel good parenting plan you may not get it by doing the right thing. You may get more ” I cant stand you” responses from your child then the coveted ” Your the best mom” responses when you let them slide on their homework. There is a price to pay.

So, we need to make a decision on a day to day basis whether we want the immediate gratification of having our children love everything we do and the way we do it, or the longer term gratification of knowing we set them up to succeed in general. I think all of us would answer the same way when it is put in front of us like it is here, but it is surprising how quickly we can slip inot the other mode when it is just plain easier. Today the goal is to make a real effort to expect what is going to be expected from our kids. Expect from them what the world will expect as they age, and dont let our need to be loved by them at the moment stop that from happening. Before we get to today’s skill of the day I want to make 2 quick points about this subject. First, our kids will have very little respect for us in general if we budge everytime they buck. Second, kids always have more respect for those who hold them accountable. That is why the strictest teacher is still talked about 20 years after school is over. There is a respect there.

Now we will go to the skill for today to teach your child. The skill for today which you should introduce to them and start using often is called Accepting Consequences. The steps to accepting consequences are similar to Accepting No.
Look at the person
Say Ok
Repeat the consequence

For example you say to your child that they have just lost privileges for using the computer for one day, because they spent 2 hours more then they were given to use it today, they should respond by saying ok, and that they understand they lost their privileges for tomorrow due to using them too much today.

This may seem redundent, but it is a sure way to make sure the child owns the behavior, and understands the consequence. There should never be any eye rolling, voice raising or body language by the child when they are accepting a consequence either, this is the same as not accepting it.

So keep using the existing skills and add this one to the bank. Once again, I urge you to use them often, and get your child very comfortable with them. Skills well defined are a great way to make children feel secure and not confused about what is expected.

One last note is please share this information with family abnd friends who have children between 3 and 17 as it is very helpful for any parent. I used these skils for 5 years as a foster parent and for 18 as a parent and I can tell you it made a world of difference in my children and my life. Not to mention, as always I offer a money back!
Happy Parenting!


Author: (Don't Label My Kid! Coaching & Counseling Team)

Social Worker- Mental Health, Addictions, and Behavioral health- Leadership Educator-, Juvenile Justice. A variety of coaching. I have a great desire to help others make it through times that I myself have had to navigate. I understand the process, the pain,and the support needed. I, and the rest of my team all have both the formal education to coach others but more importantly we also have the life experience which allows us to relate to all the phases and hurdles that come with recovering from issues like depression, addiction, domestic violence, spiritual confusion, and much more. I feel that the combination of formal training and life experience allows us to meet those we help every point of need- in a real way.

6 thoughts on “Parenting Series- You Are Not Your Child’s Buddy…”

  1. Another masterpiece TJ. I think I teetertotter through all the styles but I hope I have some good balance. I know when they beed a friend and its obvious they always need a mom. I like the part about saying ok and repeating the words without attitude and eye rolling. I will certainly work on that step though I know it will take some time and be a challenge. Old habits die hard. As usual thanks for the advice. We try and be the best we can be vut a little guidance goes a long, long way 🙂

    1. I thank you for such a gracious review. I really think we all should share ideas that work with others. I learn each day something new from trial and error but it seems like if we have a solid base to work from we will be ever improving as we test out new methods. Thanks again for the comment! : )

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