Is it possible to parent and be your child's best friend all at the same time? According to Matt Lauer, you can't have it both ways.
The 57-year-old dad and Today Show host recently shared his thoughts on parenting in an interview with People. As his daughter Romy, 12, and sons Thijs, 8, and Jack, 14, approach their teens, Lauer says that having a fun attitude is essential.
He adds, "I don't think anything can prepare you for it. There is no owner's manual and you just have to have a sense of humor, but you also have to remember you're their parent, not their best friend."
My husband and I have a 5-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son. When it comes to raising our kids, I want them to feel comfortable about opening up to us about anything, and I think that type of relationship begins at a very young age.
However, I don't want them to confuse the two relationships. I've actually grown up with girls who were best friends with their moms. They'd feel comfortable enough to talk with them about boy troubles and other things that I would never have imagined discussing with my own mother.
But when it came time for their parents to discipline them, the lines became blurred. I've witnessed how difficult it was for the moms to reprimand their daughters for bad behavior, which makes me question whether or not choosing parenting over friendship is the best way to go.
You can set boundaries and have effective discipline—because your kids respect you enough to obey you.
According to Psychology Today, being a friend to your child is more important. "A parent who is approachable, accessible and has their kids' best interests at heart grows a close bond with them. And you can set boundaries and have effective discipline—because your kids respect you enough to obey you."
Establishing that bond is key when kids are young because as they get older and become teenagers, that existing bond will help during tough times, as the article states.
I certainly agree. Our daughter is only 5, but sometime it's as if she's 15 years old. She's already asking for her own cell phone and shows an interest in wanting to wear nail polish.
Finding a balance between being a parent and friend does get challenging, especially as a child gets older. That's why we have to set boundaries by saying "no" to some things. I may also have to take off the friendship hat and become a disciplinarian from time to time. But we still have a great relationship where our daughter feels comfortable with telling us about everything that goes on.
As Lauer says, having a bit of humor does ease some of the parenting woes we often go through with our kids.
It's also important to build that connection during the early stages. Once you've established that trust, it makes it easier for your child to respect your decisions, even though it may not sit well with them at first.
So far, we've managed to have it both ways, but there is a long road ahead. For us, it's all about the right approach.