Being Your Child’s Friend Could Cost You Both in Long Run

Updated Jan 31, 2014

If you are like me and grew up in the ’60s you are considered a baby boomer. It was a time where rules and boundaries were established by your parents. These rules and boundaries were not openly challenged by us as children. If your parent said no to your request then it meant no. Your request was not repeated and if it was, you were in peril.

Now, I will admit there were times when a no turned into a yes but it was on our parents’ terms not on our terms as children. For example, telling my parents that one of my friends had a new pair of roller skates did not sway them to immediately go out and buy me a new pair of roller skates. Quite frankly my mom couldn’t have cared less if one of my neighborhood friends had a new pair of Buster Brown shoes. If there were any shoes to be bought it would be on her terms and conditions. And by the way, I would be happy and thankful for those shoes.

Old-school parents simply marched to the beat of a different drummer when you compared them to many parents today. Over time, I have talked to a great number of parents and all agree that parenting is a lifelong commitment. One of the concerns that I hear more often than not is why aren’t some parents being parents? I suspect that some people have children and they don’t understand the seriousness of it all. Some parents treat babies as if they are toys. The fact is that these little ones grow into several stages of development and parents must be ready to assume their rightful role. There are parents who want to give their child everything which will come back to haunt them later. For example, recently, I saw a baby not 2 years old yet wearing a pair of name brand tennis shoes.

There is a book out entitled “Affluenza: How Overconsumption Is Killing Us ― And How to Fight Back.” Pick it up because it gives you some perspective on how some parents are raising kids these days. It has been my opinion for some years now that too many parents want to be their child’s friend instead of their parent. The behavior of children these days is being called more and more into question. Some child experts say the number of spoiled kids is on the increase. Nicole Story, a family therapist in Florida, cites children getting upset when they don’t get what they want and being ungrateful for gifts as early warning signs of spoiled children.

It is my view that we have children who believe they are entitled. They are entitled to have a car and they are entitled to wear the latest fashions. How did this happen? You can answer that question. If you are being challenged by an entitled child you may wish to have a money conversation with them. Maybe if they gain a healthy appreciation for money and how hard you work for it then there will be a change in their attitude.

If you are on the friendship tract with your child then get off it now. Parenting, while difficult, must be done. Our children are depending upon us.

Dr. James B. Ewers Jr. is a higher education consultant/youth advocate and a member of The Academy Speaks.