• Mon. Dec 5th, 2022

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Stay in Your Lane – Be a Parent, Not a Friend

be a parent and not a friend www.janeanesworld.com


Some parents want to be friends with their children. This is a mistake. Children need to be raised from childhood to adulthood. Friends are not the party suited for that job. That is a job for parents. If you want to do the best thing possible for your children, strive to be a good parent, not a good friend.


When it comes to your children, your job is not to be a friend; your job is to be a parent.


Let’s start with a few definitions. Parent is commonly defined as one who brings forth another or who brings up and care for another. The word child is commonly understood to be one not yet of age or the offspring of parents. The word friend is usually described as a person who has an attachment to another due to affection or esteem. The words parent and children share some components, but there is a world of difference between parents and friends in these definitions. Interestingly, the definition for parent does not include words like love, like, affection and esteem. Similarly, the definition for friend talks about care, concern, and affection but not responsibility or obligation.



When children are born, they are helpless and utterly unable to survive without a great deal of assistance. Unlike many other members of the animal kingdom, human parents must spend many, many years teaching, guiding and preparing their offspring to survive on their own. In most cases, children need parents who are good at their job if they are to be able to survive and thrive on their own when they reach adulthood. Of course, some humans are able to do exceedingly well with no parents, or with poor parents. However, that is not the norm and not a circumstance one should hope for.

While parents have a legal obligation to care for their children from birth through the age of majority, friends have no legal obligations to one another. A friend is a person who choses to like you, care for you. and have affection for you without any obligation to do so. That type of relationship is also something to be treasured. Friends support you when things are going badly and cheer with you when things are going well. Friends listen to your secrets and tell you secrets of their own. Friendship is special because friends choose their obligation and relationship to one another.

While a child only has two biological parents, a child can have an unlimited number of friends over the course of a lifetime. A parent’s love is a treasure that cannot be replaced. At the same time, there is something truly special a friend. A child needs both parents and friends to go from childhood to adulthood with the best chance at success. If you are a parent, remember your place, your obligation, and your job is to raise guide your child from childhood to adulthood as successfully as possible. Stay in the role of parent, do not leave that role for the role of friend. It may seem like more fun, joy and less stress to be a friend, but as a parent, that is not your place.

If you would like to read more articles about the role of parents in the lives of their children, check out the following:

New Look at Parents/Kid Relationships – We’re Not Friends

Parent/Child Relationship – You are Not Friends!

Take a moment now to look at the relationship you have with your children. Are you a parent or a friend?

21 thoughts on “Stay in Your Lane – Be a Parent, Not a Friend”
  1. It is important to have a relationship with your children that enables them to talk to you, trust you and confide in you. I am glad I have that with my children. We re not friends, but they can and do come to me even when they are wrong. It is a treasure beyond measure.

  2. I agree with you. All too often parents think that their children will not trust and confide in them if they are not friends. That doesn’t have to be the case. Good parenting can me your children trust and confide in you even if you are not friends.

  3. I am happy that my children who range from 20 to 8 can confide in me and trust me. It is part of my job as a parent to cultivate that type of relationship.

  4. One of the things I like most about my children is that we are close and even though I am not their friend, they feel they can confide in me, trust me and we have good times together.

  5. So true! It’s hard sometimes to not want to be friends with your kids. My son and I have such a cool friendship!

  6. I am first a parent but always a friend. There are boundaries and they are clear. I want my kids to trust me and confide in me.

  7. Well said! Too many parents want to be their child’s best friend and its no good for anyone. Its important to teach responsibility and boundaries.

  8. So true. It’s so hard sometimes to not want to be friends with your kids. It is, however, very important to establish parental respect.

  9. One of my biggest accomplishments as a mother is that my children can confide in me even when they are wrong or concerned that they may be wrong. I do not have to be a friend to be someone they can rely on, talk to and share with. I like your attitude about it all.

  10. Yes, children need parents. Some parents mistakenly think that you must a friend for a child to trust you, depend on you and confide in you, but this is not true. When parenting is at its best, children confide in us, trust us and depend upon us.

  11. The church girl in me says that you cannot serve two masters. You can be a friend or a parent not both. Of course when parenting is good the children confide in you, trust you and rely upon your opinion. For me it is a fine line and I stay on the side of parent.

  12. These are some great ways to look at it. My kids are grown up now so I can do more “friend” things which is nice!

  13. I am a parent first and foremost when it comes to my kids but I’m also their friend that they can come to with anything and talk to. I don’t want to be that too strict parent that scares their kids away. There is a fine line and I make sure not to cross it and they know better as well.

  14. This is so true. I’m not sure when this became a thing but we are doing our kids a big time disservice by acting like their friends. They need parents!

  15. My parents let it be known that they were my parents first and forevermore. However, they also let it be known that I could come talk to them about anything.

  16. I see so many parents making the mistake of trying so hard to be their kids friend. From what I have seen it backfires. This happened with my sister in law.

  17. My kids are young so I’m the parent for sure. I hope when they get older that I can be both a parent and a friend.

  18. So interesting. My parents kept that parenting level, and only now feel like friends because I’m an adult with kids.
    I want my kids to respect me, and trust me, but maybe not enough to feel like we’re friends!

  19. This is great post but I must say for me I have learned balance and can be my son’s friend and mom. He is a good kid and knows I am here for him no matter the subject or problem. We have had many adventures together and he is turning into a very well adjusted young man.

  20. I couldn;t have said this any better. You do your kids a real disservice if you try to be their friend and not a parent.

  21. Parenting: If people really knew what they were taking on, they just might not do it! LOL There is definitely a fine line between friendly and friend. I think it is really about respect. Again, that fine line. Thanks for putting into words a very difficult concept Janeane. 🙂

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