Are we blurring the line too much between being friends with our kids and parenting our kids?
This is something I really struggle with.
I don’t need to be my sons best friend. I do need to be their parent.
I want to be their best friend, just not at the expense of being their parent first. And don’t confuse this with me not being friends with my boys, we are. Or that I’m a hard ass, I’m not.
I’ve always found that being a dad is easy, it’s being a parent that’s hard.
The dad stuff is fun; joking, playing, talking, cuddling, sports, traveling, experiencing things together. That stuff comes easy to me. The parenting stuff is tough; discipline, homework, responsibilities, finances, scheduling, life lessons...That stuff doesn’t come as easily.
I don’t pretend to have this figured out either. What I do know is that I don’t want to be a “Do as I say, not as I do” kind of guy...Which creates a constant struggle between authenticity and hypocrisy. I’m just working on being a better father, husband and person overall. It got me thinking though about the messages we’re sending to our kids and what responsibilities I have to my sons and my wife to try and lead by example.
What message are we sending if we come home drunk from a party and our kids see it (they can tell even if we convince ourselves that they can’t)? Or if we’re visibly intoxicated at a party in front of our kids.
What message are we sending if want our kids to be athletic, active and in shape but we’re not doing anything physical ourselves?
What message are we sending if we allow our kids to exclude others because we don’t want them have to face any competition or deal with their own insecurities or challenges?
What message are we sending if we choose to blame teachers, coaches, volunteers and seek to change classes or teams for our kids rather than hold them accountable or teach them how to deal with adversity without our interference/assistance?
The actions (or lack of action) we take on a daily basis, big or small make lasting impressions.
This list could be much, much longer...
There's a lot to work on. I’m gonna make a lot more mistakes. My kids are gonna make more mistakes. In the meantime, I’m focusing on some things that I know I can do:
Don’t talk and/or text in the car and then tell your kids to never talk or text in the car
Don’t bring your phone into the bedroom, sit in bed and check out IG and then tell your kids their not allowed to bring their phone upstairs to their room
Don’t drink in front of your kids or other kids or come home to your kids drunk and then lecture them about responsible drinking
Don’t smoke or do drugs and then tell your kids how bad smoking and drugs are for them
Don’t tell your kids they need to exercise and eat well if you don’t exercise and eat well yourself.
Don’t lie, avoid or manipulate the truth and then expect your kids to be honest and trustworthy with you
Don’t ignore issues, people, rules or responsibilities just to do something easier, more fun, get ahead or avoid confrontation
What’s your message?