Rant of the day

Parents who don’t parent their children.

Today my eldest son got mad at me, in a way that only an almost 12 year old can, and yelled, “I don’t like you very much.”

And I responded, “I am sorry you are mad at me, but I am not your friend. I am your parent. Sometimes that means I have to do things or say things to you that you don’t like. If you never got angry with me I would know I wasn’t doing my job.”

It didn’t lessen his anger towards me, which really was fine with me. I got the eye roll and the stomp out of the room. I am not about to deny anyone their feelings, even if I think they are over reacting.

But everyday I am amazed by the number of parents who refuse to parent their children. Who refuse to set any boundaries at all. Parents who live in fear that their children won’t like them if they ever say, “No.” I feel sorry for the children, who keep upping the ante looking for some boundaries. And I feel sorry for the parents who feel like nothing they ever do is enough.

So my advice to all the parents out there… get some friends your own age.

23 Responses to “Rant of the day”

  1. AMC Says:

    You sing it sister!

  2. Kate Says:

    My mom told me, “Your children will have lots of friends throughout their lives. They only get one mother.”

    It’s kind of a cliche, but it seems like, if you do the parenting right, then you will eventually be your child’s friend–as much as a parent can be a friend. My parents and I went through the roller coaster of adolescence, and boy did I resent them a LOT, but we have a really terrific relationship now, and I can see they did a good job parenting.

    They are still my parents foremost, but they are also people I like and people whose company I enjoy. Eighteen years is really a relatively short period of time. If you do it right, you can be ‘friends’ with them much longer than that.

    As you can tell, I have pretty strong feelings on this subject!

  3. MamaSutra Says:

    Amen!

    I am mom to two toddlers. My other job is teaching junior high, which I have been doing for almost 10 years. It blew my mind to have parents ask me, back when I was a 25 year old rookie with no kids of my own, what they should do with their kids in terms of discipline. Crazy. I know better than to say that I won’t make mistakes with my kids as they get older, but setting boundaries and being “the mom” starts early. Not so much fun sometimes as being “the buddy,” but oh well.

  4. Nohe 5 Says:

    AMEN Sister!!!!! I couldn’t have said it better myself!

  5. Jamie Says:

    I agree wholeheartedly.

    My 4-year-old daughter has started saying “Mommy, then I not your friend any more” if she doesn’t get her way. To which I reply, “I’m not your friend, I’m your mommy. And mommy and daddy make the rules.”

  6. Novaks8 Says:

    My mom tried to be my “friend” when I was a kid and it was horrible.

    She was a young mother but so was I and it is no excuse.

    It is a hard job…hopefully it pays off in the end.

  7. Kristen Says:

    You got it sister.

  8. Alice H Says:

    I get the “You’re not my friend!” and “You’re not coming to my party!” at least once a week. It used to be several times a day.

    Once it got through my son’s thick noggin that since I was most likely paying for the party, he wasn’t going to have a party if I wasn’t there, he pretty much stopped that one. I think the “You’re not my friend!” jab is really an immature way of expressing “I don’t like you” or “I don’t like what you’re doing” - but it sure doesn’t make me want to give in to whatever he’s trying to accomplish. Maybe the years of being a black-clad cigarette-smoking shoegazer made me immune to the need for social approval, at least from family members.

  9. Karen Rani Says:

    AMEN TO THAT!!!!!!
    You’re spot-on Chris!

  10. Mir Says:

    And all the angels said AMEN. ;)

  11. CathyC Says:

    Yes! Totally! This is exactly why there are so many bratty kids out there.

  12. Fairly Odd Mother Says:

    Wow, did something happen outside of this? I usually feel this way when I run into a situation that really rubs me the wrong way.

    One of the first things my 5 year old took the time to write down was, “”AR TH URST MOMMY IN THE. . .” she had asked me how to spell ‘WORLD’, but I guess she ran out of room. I’ve had my share of playing the heavy. I feel a whole lotta empathy for what they are going through but I couldn’t live without limits.

  13. girlymama Says:

    thank you!

    my friend honestly claims that her daughter is her very best friend. Her daughter is FOUR. Things should get reeeeally interesting in about 10 years in that house.

  14. Crisanne Says:

    Well said! I too saw this a lot when I was teaching junior high. I feel so sorry for kids whose parents won’t set limits-they simply aren’t ready to have that much control. They would freak out if a teacher gave their kid an exam over material they had not taught, but yet they think their kid will be ready for life with no proper instruction!! Ok, stepping off the soap box now.

  15. Sheryl Says:

    Hmmm, I kinda think you can be both. But maybe I’m too much of a softie. I mean you gotta put your foot down, but there’s also plenty of opportunity to enjoy their company, and try to say yes as much as you can. I think when they say they hate you or whatever, you just shrug your shoulders and say, okay, but you’re still doing/not doing XYZ.

  16. cole Says:

    What about parents that parent on the Continum Concept and the whole “Freeschool” type of parenting? Those parents are shrugging their shoulders and not saying anything…they believe in a philosphy of parenting. Just curious.

  17. chris Says:

    Sheryl,

    I am not equating being kind, friendly or loving to being a “friend” (And I am not talking about grown-up children either.) To me the term friend implies that we are on equal footing in the relationship.

    I am talking about parents who refuse to set any sorts of limits or boundaries at all. Who are concerned that their children like them.

    I am not a strict disciplinarian by anyone’s definition, but when I have to say no to something or reprimand someone, my children liking me does not factor into it.

    Cole,

    I could probably write an entire post about that topic. Short version, it isn’t my particular philosophy of parenting. I believe in giving children a lot of freedom within clear boundaries.

  18. Christina Says:

    Clear boundaries are missing for a lot of my 5yo’s friends, I can point to which ones have the run of their households and which ones do not, mine included. My parents always set clear boundaries for us so I know that’s where I get it from, and thank goodness for that. Now my mom is my best friend, but she is first and forever my mom!

  19. Tina Says:

    BWAHAHAHAHA!! I love that! “Get some friends your own age”! I’ve got to remember that one. :)

  20. liz Says:

    I get the “pleeeeeaaaaase? I’ll be your best friend!” and “You’re not my friend anymore” quite a bit.

    “I’m your mommy.”

    And what Tina said.

  21. Susan Says:

    You nailed it! This is one of my biggest pet peeves in life. These “friend” parents aren’t doing anyone any favors, especially their own kids!

  22. wookie Says:

    My favourite is when my 4 year old demands that I apologize for hurting her feelings because I won’t let her eat a whole pack of Twizzlers. We too have had the talk about “It’s not my job to make you happy, it is my job to keep you safe.”

  23. Nickel Says:

    Hmm, I completely agree with all you’ve said BUT I would never say “I’m not your friend” to my daughter.
    Being a friend means doing the best for that person as far as I can see which is what all of you lovely parents are doing!