Being a parent or a friend, what comes first?

So often today we see many people who are “friends” with their children. I think this can be quite healthy but personally I think there should be a line between where being a parent ends and being a friend starts; and being a parent to your child should always trump being a friend.

I consider myself lucky to have had a good relationship with my parents. In many ways growing up they were like my friends; approachable and trustworthy. But they definitely parented my brother and I first. We were corrected when they thought we were wrong and they put their foot down when we were out of line. While my brother and I knew we could say almost anything to them, there was always an element of respect.

In the news this week, I read of an Australian mother who was punishing her daughter by selling her one direction tickets on Ebay. This was her post on Ebay:

“THIS AUCTION IS FOR ALL 4 ONE DIRECTION TICKETS IN SYDNEY OCTOBER 25th. You can thank my daughters self righteous and lippy attitude for their sale. See sweety? And you thought I was bluffing. I hope the scowl on your bitchy little friends faces when you tell them that your dad and i revoked the gift we were giving you all reminds you that your PARENTS are the ones that deserve love and respect more than anyone. And your silly little pack mentality of taking your parents for fools is one sadly mistaken. Anyhow. Your loss someone else’s gain who deserves them! THE TICKETS ARE SEATED IN ROW O section 57. REMEMBER AUCTION IS FOR ALL 4 TICKETS and will be sent registered post
…OH YOUR FRIENDS THOUGHT THAT A FEW PRANKS CALLS WOULD PUT ME OFF SELLING THE GIFT WE BOUGHT FOR THEM for YOUR BIRTHDAY because YOU all LIED to us about sleep overs so you could hang like little trollops at an older guys HOUSE????? Pffft!! I find it HIGHLY amusing that you girls think you invented this stuff. Tricks like this on OUR parents is how HALF of you were conceived …..And why a lot of your friends DONT have an address to send that Fathers day card to!!! I’m not your friend. I’m your MOTHER. And I am here to give you the boundaries that YOU NEED to become a functional responsible adult. You may hate me now….. But I don’t care. Its my job to raise a responsible adult..not nuture bad habits in my teen age child”

While I think it was okay for the mother to sell her daughters tickets online, I do think it was rather harsh of her to write what she did. Reacting in such an explosive manner is not setting the right example to your child, rather showing her that it is okay to react in this way. I can understand that the mother felt hurt and betrayed and wanted to discipline her daughter, but she needn’t have stooped so low and sound like an angry teenager herself.

But with the rise of social media (and pictures and posts going viral instantaneously), is publicly punishing your child a new trend?

ReShonda Tate Billingsley created a unique facebook punishment after her daughter posted alcohol related pictures online.
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Last year in Illinois, Montrail White watched from his parked car as his 8yr old daughter held up a sign saying “I like to steal from others and lie about it!!”

Tarvon Young was made to stand outside his school for 90 minutes holding a post that said “I was sent to school to get an education. Not to be a bully… I was not raised this way!”

Jose Gonzalez stood on a street corner in Denver holding a sign saying “I am a thief. I took money from a family member” after he stole $100 from his cousin.

All these actions went viral online. I’m sure many feel humiliation is a better choice than raising a hand on your child but humiliating a child (or someone of any age for that matter) is a nasty and disrespectful way of treating them. Personally I think humiliation is counterproductive as it teaches the child that humiliating someone is okay if you don’t like what they are doing. Children may associate the humiliation with being caught as opposed to the actual act itself and continue to do so but get better at not getting caught; as well as losing trust in their parents.
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I was chatting to my dads cousin last week. She has two sons and has used reward charts for her older son for a few years. He’s 7 years old. He gets a point for doing thing he’s supposed to and when he has collected a certain amount of points he can cash them in for activities or toys and games. It works a bit like a store loyalty card. The better behaved you are, the more you get. So far it has worked well for them.

 

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What methods of discipline do you use for your children? I’d love to hear what works for you.

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