Friend – “Hey, who is your buddy?”
One of the other traps we fall into is the trap of trying to be a buddy or pal to our child rather than being their father. And the reason we do is fairly obvious. It is much easier to be a friend than it is to be a father. And besides, who doesn’t want to be a pal or to have a pal? The problem is that our children don’t need us to be their buddy. They need us to be someone that they can respect. They need us to be someone that they can look up to. A friend will disappoint them far too often. They can have many friends, but they only have one father. And that is you.
Does this mean that that we have to be what my family calls “Señor Grumpy-Pants”? No, not at all. But we cannot effectively parent our children by trying to be their friend. Friends are peers. Friends are equals. Father to child and child to father are not peer relationships. And the relationship breaks down if we as Dads try to make them peers.
It is important to know that I am talking primarily here about the time that our children are young and in their formative years. Our relationship changes as they mature. And in fact, as they become adults and move on with their lives we do indeed strive to become friends in the sense that we can talk with each other with ease and with candor. We can discuss the things on our hearts knowing that we are communicating with someone who knows us intimately, yet loves us immensely.