Your Child Is Not Your “Friend”

This may be one of the best articles ever written. Period. Just because it does not mention Internet safety, specifically, does not mean it has nothing to do with it. On the contrary, it is this very psychological phenomenon that often is the reason parents refuse to get the message into their skulls that monitoring their child’s Internet activity is a MUST.

Parents often say “I don’t want to spy on my child; I wouldn’t have wanted my parents to”… Well, first of all, your parents would have, despite what you would have wanted because they were parents first and foremost (before anyone goes nuts on that hypothesis, kow that I am encapsulating our parents’ generation – not singling out your specific parents).

Second, the author says this about that scenario:

Many parents try to raise their child in a way that they wish their parents had parented them. It sounds nice on paper, but it just doesn’t work. So if your parents were distant or rigid with you, or they seemed uncaring to you or they seemed self-involved to you or they made horrible personal mistakes and didn’t give you the guidance you needed, you shouldn’t overcompensate for that by violating parent-child boundaries with your own child. This can be characterized as a “reaction formation.” In reaction to deficits you saw in your own parents, you form a way of parenting that’s not healthy for you or for your child.

This is partly why I always tell parents they must stop being their child’s friend online and start being a 21st century parent. The author agrees with my sentiments and says this:

If you have a tendency to treat your child as a “friend,” you should understand this important interpretation of friendship: friends are a group of people that have the same notion about ideas and life. The truth is, children and adults have very different notions about what they should be doing. They have entirely different notions about what’s right and wrong.

This couldn’t be more correct in the realm of Internet safety. Being your child’s “friend” when it comes to the Internet and choosing un-questioned trust over monitoring will only lead to trouble. Not monitoring your child’s Internet activity is one of the worst things you can do in 2012… time to get with it. Stop being your child’s friend and start being a 21st century parent… (echo… echo… echo…)

Use PC Pandora monitoring software to know what your kids are doing online. KNOW that they are playing it safe… or see that they are taking risks and step in to parent them accordingly.

Your Child Is Not Your “Friend”
By James Lehman, MSW (from empoweringparents.com)

There is a purely emotional part of the parent/child relationship that is built on affection and esteem. Parents and children are genetically geared to love each other, and it’s a beautiful thing to behold.

But there’s a stage where parenting becomes a functional role, not just an emotional role. With infants, the emotional role shows when a mother demonstrates her love by holding, talking and singing to the child. The functional role involves feeding, changing diapers and bathing the baby. One without the other is damaging for the child. So if she just loved that child but didn’t do the responsible functional things, that child would be at great risk and would be harmed and neglected. If she just took care of the functional things and didn’t show that child any love, it would have long term effects on the child’s emotional development. The emotional and functional parenting roles go hand in hand. It’s not healthy to emphasize one at the cost of the other. CONTINUE READING›


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