Parents Trying to be Kids Friends

In all of my years of teaching I have noticed a trend that is starting to pick up steam: the parents who state that their child is their best friend. I am sorry, but that is not the case. If you firmly believe that your child is your best friend than you have lost the respect of not only your child but they are totally taking advantage of you.

You may think that your kid is going to be open and honest with you, but let's be real. Having taught teenagers for 13 years I have seen them lie to their friends, lie to their parents, and lie to me in order to get freedom or anything to swing for them. As an adult, you should be the one there to support your child, be their biggest fan, and also be willing to discipline. You are not someone who can be the best friend. Your child will not tell you their deepest, darkest secrets. They will save that for their friends.

I have heard kids who will give their parents lip service and then go and act in the total opposite direction. Or when I have a parent conference and I inform the parents of how their child is acting in class they are quick to defend them and state, "Not my child. We are best friends and tell each other everything." I call bull on this. Ask any teacher of their teachers and we all are seeing the same thing. I see kids walk into the bathroom wearing one outfit and by the time they come back out it is a totally different outfit. We are not giving kids the credit they deserve for being really smart.

Kids know how to play us. They know how to use technology and are using it better than any of us. They have apps, texting terms, etc. on how to communicate with friends that we as adults do not know. Sure, we can say we are "hip" and get it. But face it, we are the enemy. We are not their friends.

You know what the kids want? Structure. Rules. I have had kids who are the most popular and the worst behaved in school be able to be successful in my classroom with good grades because of this. These students will like me and my class. When other teachers ask them why they behave for me and not for others, the kids say my class is fun. I respect them. I treat them as an individual. But also, I am not their friend. I am their teacher. I have expectations for them. Rules. They get punished if they misbehave. That is something that we as adults must realize. These kids WANT this. They may not say it, but they do. At the end of the school year these kids do not want to leave my room and leave me. Because they are leaving those expectations. I see it with other teachers too who have these types of rigorous rooms.

You want to kid yourself and say you are friends with your child; fine. But I will not be that way for my son. He is just that: my son. He makes mistakes, acts out, is silly, goofy, you name it. But he knows I have expectations for him at 4 years old and he wants to make me proud. If he knows that he has disappointed me, it is upsetting to him and he strives to make better choices and act better. All kids can do this. It is started at home and reinforced there. I only see your child for 1/24 of the day. I need your help to reinforce what is happening. I cannot do it alone. But you cannot be your kid's friend. We have to move past that and it's time for you to be an adult and a parent.