Changing Nature of Parent-Child Relationships:
The fine art of parenting requires that we play many roles in the lives of our children. As parents, we are called upon to be responsible, set limits, give good advice, and be sensitive to the needs of our children. However, because children are in a continuous state of growth and change, long-term success as a parent requires that parents also undergo a process of continuous learning and change so that our parental skills do not become obsolete.
- The world of our childhood is not the same as the world of our children. All we have to do is look around our homes and businesses at the constantly evolving technology to understand that things have changed. Our children must be equipped to compete in a very different world than we had to conquer, and for this, they will require different skills and resources. Sometimes, kids have a better understanding of what they need, than we do. Parents must therefore be clever enough to view the world through their child’s eyes, and then, be willing to help that child find a way to solve problems that will work for them.
- Each child will need to find their own path to success and happiness. History can confirm that few if any parents, have ever been successful in deciding what will make their child happy as an adult. Even when we are partially right, the wise parent should avoid making decisions which will keep them in their child’s path of blame.
- A parent’s job is to strengthen their child. The truth is that it is hard for kids to compete in our world. They have many decisions to make and skills to master in a world which is constantly changing. As parents, we can either serve as springboard of encouragement and support for our kids, or we can stand on the sidelines providing criticism and doubt.
- Who said parents and children can’t be friends? Words of anger often include the phrase, ‘I’m your parent, not your friend’. These words are usually uttered when parents feel a lack of respect and a need to “pull rank”. However, this family therapist contends that the relationship between parent and child must be based on the expectation for a strong and mutual lifelong friendship. This does not mean that children get to make all of their own decisions. It means that when parents must make unpopular decisions, the child understands that the parent is not doing so just to be mean.
As parents, it is our responsibility to see that our children have a variety of learning experiences. Some will be easy; others will be quite difficult. Parents can best help their children by simply standing behind them. We can’t live their lives for them, but we can watch our children from the side lines. Most importantly, our children need to know that we are cheering for, and not against them.