I’m Not Your Friend

Okay, so that title sounded a little tough, but I’m not talking about you—unless you’re one of my five kids. There seems to be a big epidemic right now with parents wanting to be their children’s BFF. They feel that if I’m their friend then they will be more open, honest and like me better making for a better relationship. Awe grasshopper! Problem is it’s not working.

After working with youth and children for almost 10 years I’ve seen the opposite happen. The more parents try to become their kid’s friend the more disrespectful and undisciplined they become. I believe that many of our problems with violence, teenage pregnancy, etc. could be tamed if parents would start being parents again. My daughter has friends—I’m not one of them. I’m her parent who loves her more than anyone in the world. I think some parents see their children interacting with the parents of their friends and they hear things like, “Your mom and dad or so cool!” Now, it makes sense to think “I want to be cool like those parents, so maybe I should act like they do.” What they don’t realize is that your kid’s friends think the same thing about you. Why? Because you’re not their parent—you can be their friend so you are so-called “cool”.

The Bible says this, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6 (KJV) This is a very famous verse when it comes to parenting with lots of meaning. For example, the word “train” literally means to “set aside, to narrow, to hedge in.” “In the way he should go” literally refers to the way a servant should respond to his master. The word “way” does not mean personality or stage in life. It refers to “the proper way, path of wise, godly living.” Put this all together and parents must narrow their kid’s conduct from evil toward godliness. A parent must be a leader in such a way that your children respond to you as servant would respond to their master.

There is an attack on families and in the vast majority of cases it’s not the child’s fault—it’s the parents. Parents must refuse the lie that they are to be popular and liked. You can be the popular one in the eyes of your children’s friends—as is often the case—but they aren’t your kids. It’s my prayer that we can help parents understand their role as we continue to fight the good fight!

-PJ

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