If you could choose only one thing to destroy your child, be their friend instead of their parent. When a parent chooses to dress like, act like and talk like their favorite child, at the expense of parenting them, they send a confusing message to the child. It teaches the child they are your equal, therefore they are entitled to many things (whether you think they are or not). Their trust for you as their parent plummets and they will have no respect for your authority (why should they if you are basically equal to their peers). And they will eventually distrust all adults since the adult world will not recognize their ‘arrived’ status that you have given them. These outcomes will leave them isolated, distrusting of many relationships, confused and insecure.

Parents want to see their children succeed. Falling into the trap of placating them (by giving them what they want) or becoming like them to get that to happen doesn’t lead to success. Your child is not your second chance at the childhood or high school years you didn’t get. Living vicariously through your child will eventually cause resentment toward you. As well, any collusion or alliance making by one parent against the other is highly destructive to the family system, and will eventually backfire. It creates distrust and contempt where none existed before.

Believe it or not, your child does not want you for a best friend. If they say that, they are probably manipulating you. Every time this is researched, children want their parents to set boundaries and enforce them, say “No” if necessary, and protect them by educating them about the dangers of life. In other words, kids want their parent to be a parent, not their friend.

The number one job of a parent is to keep the child safe while nurturing their development into adulthood. A daunting task for sure that cannot be accomplished if a parent abdicates their role as parent to become their child’s friend.


Todd has been a therapist for over 20 years in a variety of settings. An unconventional therapist who tells the truth, Todd has taught undergraduate and graduate level courses, and authored his first book, Simply Relate.

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