The Danger of Befriending Your Children

I love my kids, and I am their friend. But, I’m not their best friend…and I don’t want to be. That’s because best friends are considered two people who are on the same level. They share confidential issues of their hearts with each other, and they may give advice. Yet, one friend is not in a position of authority over the other.


When parents attempt to be best friends with their children, then the adult comes down to the child’s level. As a result, it’s impossible to fully function as the parent, such as teaching and enforcing consequences. Yes, we are to love our children, hug them, kiss them, praise them, care for them, and bond with them in an appropriate way. But, a parent should not come down to their kid’s level for any reason. If we do, then we abdicate our position of authority and protection. Making an attempt to befriend children forces a parent to forfeit the honor, respect, and authority needed to bring correction and direction into a young person’s life.


For example, I’ve told my sons for years, “I’m your dad. We can be best friends when you are married and pay your own mortgage.” I have said this so many times that they now recite it back to me. Occasionally, my sons have joked around with me to a level that borders on disrespect. Immediately, I stopped them and said, “Hey guys, save that stuff for your buddies in the locker room. You aren’t going to joke around with me in a way that mocks me and my position. Remember, I’m your father.” Allowing your kids to treat you as their best friend subtly opens the door to disrespect, which is a door you definitely need to keep shut.


Are you trying too hard to be your kid’s best friend instead of their parent? For instance, are you:


  • Telling off-color jokes?
  • Watching inappropriate movies or TV shows together?
  • Hanging out with your kid’s friends?
  • Sharing your personal issues as an adult?


If so, then you’re setting the stage for major problems. You can be a parent in whom your child confides, but not the opposite. Let them know they can talk to you about anything in their lives. But, you must maintain a clear boundary, showing that you are their parent first and their friend second. Storm-proof parenting means raising kids to respect you, rather than lowering yourself to the child’s level just to be their friend.


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