Write me: rebecca@positive-parents.org

During my years as administrator of a popular Positive Parenting page on Facebook, I’ve seen quite a few myths swirling about the public regarding positive parents. In this new series, Debunking Myths about Positive Parenting, I’ll be addressing such myths as:

  • Positive parents just want to be friends with their children
  • Positive parents don’t discipline
  • Positive parents reward tantrums and misbehavior
  • Positive parents are helicopter parents
  • Positive parents are permissive parents

As a positive parent for 9 years now, I want to discuss this idea that I just want to be my children’s friend. While it is true that friendship is an aspect of the positive parent/child relationship (and an important one), the idea that I only want to be buddies is completely FALSE.

Let me be clear about what kind of friend I am NOT:

1. I’m not the kind of friend who lets them make poor choices while I sit idly by or even, gasp, join in.

It seems that the thought of a parent being a child’s friend conjures up images of a parent who gives no rules, no boundaries, and no discipline. These “friends” turn away when their children misbehave because correcting the child would cause ill feelings which might jeopardize the friendship.

At worst, these “friends” may even join their children for a night of partying and poor decisions to strengthen the friendship bond. How is this the definition of a friend? I hope my friends would care enough about me to step in if they saw me heading down a destructive path, and boundaries are a part of all healthy relationships.

2. I’m not the kind of friend who inappropriately confides in my children or dumps all of my emotional baggage on them.

Another “friend” concern that I’ve heard about is that of over-sharing our adult problems. While I believe in being authentic with my children, I don’t think it would be mature of me to dump my issues, worries, problems, and fears on their heads, and I think all positive parents would agree. I know how to save that for my grown-up friends and not burden my children with things they shouldn’t have to carry.

3. I’m not the kind of friend who bubble-wraps them and protects them from all failure and struggle.

I’ll discuss this more in a future post about helicoptering, but again, this is really not my idea of friendship. I want friends who encourage me to reach for the stars and listen compassionately when I fall. It can certainly be uncomfortable to see children fail at something that was important to them. My gut says to protect them, but I know that failure is a part of life. I don’t always protect them from the fall; I just provide a soft landing.

Let me be clear about what kind of friend I AM:

1. I am the kind of friend who listens.

When they tell me about their Lego creation (again), I make a point to be engaged and actively listening. I listen when they tell me stories or when they share fears. I listen to dreams and Batman story lines…continue reading at CreativeChild

Read more of my positive parenting articles here.