How to prepare your family to survive and thrive in todays uncertain world

Are You a Parent or a Friend?

Today’s post has little to do with preparedness, and won’t be particularly relevant for you if you’re not a parent or grandparent. So I won’t be offended if you skip it and join us again on Friday.

I read a rather disturbing article today about the latest and greatest substance abuse craze among kids in this country. Apparantly they are drinking hand sanitizer to get drunk from the small amount of alcohol present in it.

They aren’t drinking it straight, for the most part, because they’ve figured out how to distill the alcohol out of the hand sanitizer and drink that.

This joins other things such as huffing aerosol fumes, drinking mouthwash, and other fine activities that way too many kids do.

And for every accidental death of a kid who ‘ran in the wrong crowd’ there is one that didn’t … one who’s parents never thought their child would engage in that kind of activity.

Way too many parents these days think they’re supposed to be their kids friend. And that will come with time. I’m friends with my folks, because that relationship has moved from a parental relationship to a friend relationship.

Parents are responsible for children. Parents provide boundaries for children. Parents raise children from infancy to adulthood, teaching them along the way. You will not be effective at this if you’re a friend instead of a parent.

It’s our job to teach our kids, and to guide them. Nobody will dispute that.

But as a parent we can’t be afraid of confrontation, and we can’t be afraid to be aware of what our kids are doing through whatever means necessary.

Do not shy away from doing what’s right in a tough situation, just because it’s easier to do or you don’t want to make your kid upset or angry.

So guard your children. Be involved in their life. And be their parent, not their friend.

Yes, that means it’s ok for you to invade their secrecy. Note that I used the word secrecy, not privacy. Everyone should have an expectation of privacy. However, there are no secrets in my house. The kids all know that we may go through their room, or check their electronics, etc at any time.

And we do. Not often, and usually only when our spidey sense tells us something is off.

I know what I’ve said here is something many of you will have a hard time with. It’s a message most of us don’t hear nowadays.

But I’d rather be a parent who occasionally upsets a child for “invading their privacy” and knows what’s going on, than one who is “friends” and wouldn’t ever consider it, ending up oblivious to what is REALLY going on in their kids life.

And then reaps the consequences of that down the road.

Many problems are avoidable, but only if you’re aware of them. And I suppose that’s a general life and even a preparedness lesson too, not just part of my parenting rant today.

Back to prepping content tomorrow…

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3 Responses to Are You a Parent or a Friend?

  1. Right on target Rudy,
    My wife has casually monitored our son since he was in High School (he’s 22 and a college senior now). This has allowed us to head off a couple of spectacular mistakes, much to our relief. I had to pull the “As long as you’re living in my house card; but I phrased it as “I don’t want to ever have to ask you to leave, but if you continue on this course, you will most certainly force me to do so.” Put that way, the choice was up to him, and allowed him to make the decision without feeling like we weren’t treating him as an adult. As a result, he did make the right choices.
    We proceeded to change his email addresses, cell phone number and ban his contact with some bad influences; all of which were necessary to cut the ties to those people. As a result, I’ve enjoyed my son’s company for several additional years and he hasn’t had to struggle out in the world alone.
    The bottom line here is: whether they are 12 or 32, as long as you can have some guiding influence, don’t hesitate to interve.

  2. Now in my 50’s, and my children are all grown and have families of their own, the relationship has changed. I remember back a while, that it was my opinion that trust must be earned, and not freely given with out just because. My wife at the time was of another opinion. The point I am attempting to get across is that both parents MUST be on the same page with this or there is going to be problems. I guess the Regan years had a great impact on my “ Trust but verify”.

  3. My wife and I decided a long time ago that we would stand firm with the kids. Kids are starting everything so much younger then when I was a kid, I’m amazed by the things their friends parents let them do. We might be able to be their friend when they’re adults, for now, not so much.