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Op-Ed: Parenting Is More Than Being A Friend

Today parents are more concerned that they appear to be “nice” to the children rather than appear to be old fashioned, mean parents who were strict but got the job done. File photo: Fizkes, Shutter Stock, licensed.

SPRING HILL, FL – Many Americans have been indoctrinated by intellectuals, Hollywood, and the media to believe that being a buddy to a child is the best formula for being a good parent.  According to this philosophy a parent who is viewed as a friend will raise a better adjusted and less defiant child.

A mother on the beach was the recipient of her 5-year-old daughter throwing a lump of sand directly at her face. She responded with nothing more than a confused look. In a restaurant a shouting 10-year-old child is ignored by everyone around him. A toddler runs away from his father who responds with pleading, “please stop.” A father with two daughters less than 8 years-old tries to get them into his car without success. At best these friendly parents might be able to gift negotiate (give child a gift to behave) with their child or just accept their outrageous behavior.

Parents have no concern that the inappropriate behavior will metastasize into severely destructive behavior affecting others and the child. The responsibility to train children for the future has become a thing of the past. The main concern of most modern parents is their child acting appropriate in social situations when they are present not like past generations who demanded appropriate behavior even when they were not there.

Today parents are more concerned that they appear to be “nice” to the children rather than appear to be old fashioned, mean parents who were strict but got the job done. Acting as a relaxed jovial parent is more important than teaching one’s child lessons that will be lifelong parameters to keep the child on the straight and narrow path to a successful life.

The concept of children being respectful to others when the parents are not with them is no longer important. Modern parenting is concerned with here-and-now appearances. Parents are not preparing the child to be an appropriate, successful adult with strong moral values, thinking skills and the lack of strategies to prevent developing vices.

Another wrinkle to not being a strict parent is in the child rearing philosophy of “permissive materialism.” The parents are instructed to ignore or allow inappropriate behavior in a public setting. When a child wants some expensive material item and demands it by crying or screaming, they believe it is better to walk away rather than deal with the child that may escalate into a yelling match. If the child said they passed by whatever attracted them, the parent is supposed to buy them the item they desire if they calm down. The parents win peace, but the child loses the opportunity to learn positive ways to behave in the public arena.

Parents are the primary teachers of proper socialization of their children. Without their invaluable lessons, a child cannot become compliant. Often the child that has not received these lessons, will probably not be “normalized” but labeled by friends, relatives, neighbors, school, and the mental health community.  Having a serious social problem will cause them to be shunned. When parents only play the role of friend, they limit their child’s future.

Presently in our culture some unionized teachers are stating they are the primary influencer of their students. Many teachers have sadly inherited some aspects of the role of the parent.  Too many parents have withdrawn from their primary role as the teacher of their child in the parent’s pursuit of their extended adolescence. Too many parent’s schedules are overloaded with work and socializing with their peers. This puts the child on the bottom of their list of priorities.

It is true too many parents are abdicating their duty as parents. The parental obligations have been passed on to government agencies from preschool to high school. This permissive-materialistic approach to childrearing has been a colossal failure. Our government schools, administrators and teachers cannot pretend they can fulfill the role of lazy or unwilling parents. The American parents need to return to being actively involved with their children as they are the backbone of our society. A free nation can only exist with healthy families as role models who make good choices while behaving in a godly manner.

Raising children well is not a parttime job. It is the most privileged duty adults who are blessed with a child can accomplish in their life. Raising a child is not easy. It takes love and an incredible amount of effort to do it well. Saying “no” to a child or taking a stand with a child is not easy or immediately rewarding although it is vital to create a productive and healthy adult.

Being a parent is much more than being a friend. It is being a loving but strong role model that teaches children the reasons and manners of being an exemplary citizen.

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