Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Is It A Sin To Be Your Child's Friend?

There is no universal method when it comes to establishing the dynamics of family, and apparently it's against the law to incorporate the proper elements of friendship for a parent to simply be a parent. But what does a GOOD parent offer? Financial stability? 24/7 attention? Shelter (in any shape or form)?

I often hear mothers and fathers threaten their children with the following claim, a claim that I never want to utter to my future child(ren): "I brought you into this world and I'll take you out!" This is a vain statement of intimidation, often used as a scare tactic that instead creates a distance gap, and shatters the possibility of friendship.

Parents are required to nurture, protect, and discipline the offspring they have produced, whether their arrivals were anticipated or spontaneous. However, most parents are not prepared for the task of actually raising another human being from scratch, and discipline is also not a universal method.

To quote the Bible:

"Those who spare the rod hate their children, but those who love them are diligent to discipline them" — Proverbs 13:24

In common words, "spare the rod, spoil the child"...

This verse is often repeated when parents are attempting to justify their disciplinary actions, especially when harsh punishment is visible. Some parents discipline by inflicting physical harm. Other parents discipline by implementing persuasive measures. To discipline without purposeful intent is to spoil without positive gain.

What is a friend?

"A person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection; a person you know well and regard with affection and trust; a supporter"

I asked my mom to share her opinion on this topic and she agreed that parents must attempt to be their child's friend, because it opens up the door for unsolicited communication. Most parents support the open door policy, and welcome vocal exchanges when their child is struggling with various challenges of the world. I personally enjoy the benefits of being able to talk to my mother about most things, but the key is setting boundaries.

The biggest problem arises when the child is not able to separate parent from friend, or if the parent crosses the friendship boundary when it solely benefits their own personal needs. In retrospect, developing a friendship with your child invites the opportunity for trust, honesty, and reassurance. Sometimes being strictly a parent can limit the possibilities of a relationship that can flourish from all angles, and possibly keep an otherwise misguided child out of trouble. Everybody needs somebody to love, and double the love is better than no love at all.

To answer my own question, it's technically not a sin to be your child's friend, but being your child's friend will more than likely make you a GOOD parent.

"If you haven't learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven't learned anything."--Muhammad Ali 

*Music is Life... Poetry is Love*