• April 20, 2013
  • blog

I don’t mind being the bad guy.  In fact, I even relish being placed in this perilous category that most parents spend a lifetime working to avoid.

“I’m an only child and my mother raised me so we could be best friends,” announced the twenty-something participant in one of my parenting workshops, after I had declared friendship and parenting are entirely two different operations in life.

She wasn’t alone in finding trouble with my concept, which is the title of the book I authored, “They’re Your Kids, Not Your Friends.”

Nowadays, saying no to our kids has become a negotiating process as parents seem to have determined the little darlings have an active voice in the parental process of decision making.

From what’s on the breakfast menu to when or, even if, the chores will be done rest in the undeveloped minds of our youngsters.

The kids don’t eat this and they don’t eat that and doting parents are at a loss for what to put on the table.

Many a kid (most) pull this and that’s quite okay.  The problem lies with the parents who fall prey to such nonsense- and that’s all it is unless we’re talking allergic reactions.

My daughter was in the hospital last year and we found her eating from her dinner tray some of the very foods she couldn’t tolerate at home.  When asked about this drastic change in dietary position, she stared straight at us and said quite simply, “I’m hungry.”

“I bet your kids hate you,” said another one of the disgruntled class participants. “uh, huh,” groaned several others who were sitting on the back row rolling their eyes.

The job of raising kids to be responsible adults and productive members of society does not come with votes of most popular or with awards declaring us the favorite  parent on the block.

But a job well done does come with huge rewards when we’ve learned to stand our ground, learned to establish a value system and stick with it regardless to what all the other kids are getting away with.

My parents were a real nuisance and so were their antiquated friends.  They had no clue as to what life was really about, in part, because they were old and just had never been a kid – so I thought.

But the older I got, the less unreasonable these ruiners of my childhood dreams have been.

Parenting is not a popularity contest and when our  kids catch up with us in years and experience then, and only then, are they capable of being the final word in the decision process.

I’ve never asked my kids if they loved or hated me.  I think I don’t care.  But I look at them all and recognize the rewards they’ve heaped upon me by having adhered to the value system I preached and by them having all become productive members of society.

Are they my friends?  Maybe, now that they’re old.