When I go to the grocery store with my kids, I almost always get comments from people telling me how well behaved my children are.
Are they angels? No, but they know that there are consequences to their actions. They know there are positive consequences and negative consequences depending on their behavior. They know that being patient while mom grocery shops results in a cookie. They know throwing a fit and running around the store will end in time out or a privilege being taken away. They are nowhere near perfect, but they know that mom means business and this helps them behave!
My responsibility as a parent…
As a school teacher, I often times feel like “mom” to an entire classroom full of students. I believe it is my responsibility to help them grow into confident, independent, respectful, and determined young people. I feel such a strong pull to protect and encourage these students. Sometimes, though, lessons must be learned and I may not be their favorite person in the world. The fact of the matter is helping them grow into successful adults is more important than being their friend. I feel the exact same way about my own children, and this sometimes makes me seem like the bad guy.
Sometimes the “bad guy” is actually the “good guy.”
My 2-and-a-half-year-old daughter tells me almost daily that she doesn’t like me. That is NOT fun to hear. Normally, her comment stems from me telling her no or disciplining her for doing something she isn’t supposed to do. Even though I KNOW I am right and that I am being fair and level headed, the second she throws those “I don’t like you” words at me, I crumble! I begin thinking of every possible way to get her to like me again. (Yes, I know she still loves me, but knowing you are the bad guy in your kid’s mind is rough sometimes!)
Mamas, all I can tell you in this situation is to stay strong and stick to your guns! Being consistent and upholding the standard you’ve set for your child is a good thing. You will teach them so many important life lessons in the process!
Does this mean we can NEVER have fun?!
No way! Go to the park. Play in a mud puddle. Watch a movie together. Whatever fun things you like to do together, do them! Just remember that when the time comes for a lesson to be learned, you may not be seen as the fun mom who lets them run around the house nudie butt… You may turn into someone who is not nice in their mind…. but it will be worth it!
So can we be both a parent and a friend?
In short…. yes! You may not feel like it in the moment. You may feel like the bad guy. You may wish you could just be the “fun” parent, but it will pay off! Your child will love and respect you for disciplining them and teaching them right from wrong. They will love you for teaching them how to be a good person. There were times when I was growing up when I definitely didn’t LIKE my parents, but I always loved them. Now, as an adult, I would consider them some of my closest friends.