There are many things in this world that do not go well together. Some of these things, if mixed together can cause a great deal of damage. In some cases they could even cause death.

The item that should not be mixed that seems to get the most popularity is oil and water. Throughout my life, I can’t count the times this mixture is used as an analogy to describe any number of events. The truth is that oil will never mix with water. No matter what we do, this law of nature will never be undone. Some say that opposites are attracted to one another but these two are too close together to be viewed as opposites.

The best way to see just how destructive and deadly this mixture can be is to remember the oil spill that recently took place in the Gulf of Mexico. Whatever the oil touched, there was the potential for disaster. We have all seen many images of the cakes of oil that came on the beaches and those horrible scenes where the wildlife was covered in that grimy goo.

Here in the United States, there is a committed movement to clean up these messes as soon as they happen. In other areas such as some of the oil rich countries in Africa, oil spills happen on a regular basis. There, these things are seen as the normal way of doing business. Some of those countries are doomed to live with the destruction that the mixture of oil and water can produce.

There is another item that if not treated carefully could be just as destructive and deadly as any oil spill. That item is the relationship that exists between a parent and his/her child.

As positive parents, we are always looking for the thing or things that will make the relationship between us and our kids the perfect experience.  They have ranged from taking them to the park, helping with homework and even spending time with them at sporting and cultural events. We are all guilty of doing these things all in attempt to give our kids the best that life has to offer. The reality is there is no such thing as the perfect experience.

The bottom line is that we want our kids to be happy. We don’t want to see them in any kind of discomfort. In an attempt to meet this end, some of us have crossed the line that defines us as parents. Some have sacrificed being their kids’ parent and became their kids’ friend.

There is one area where I do my best not to cross the line that exists between us. That line defines me as the parent and them as the child. I feel very strongly that if I choose to be my kid’s friend, I cannot give them the guidance and knowledge they need to become useful citizens. The reason this happens is because as their friend I am seen as their equal. As an equal they can pick and choose what they will or will not listen to. As their friend they will never take what I say or do seriously. This is a mixture that could become more destructive than any oil spill.

Seeing images of wildlife covered in crude oil is just as bad as seeing a child who is behaving badly. The parent is nearby and will not say anything for fear that the child won’t like what is being said and not be their friend anymore.

All kids need some sort of standard to live by. They also at some time need to be disciplined. There is no way I can be an effective parent if I am my kid’s friend.

This does not mean that I have to be a tyrant. There are many times when my kids and I are laughing and having fun with one another. The bottom line is that all kids should have respect for their parents. I can be friendly without being their friend.

Being my kids’ friend is like mixing oil with water. Since nature does not allow this mixture to be successful, there is no way this type of relationship can bring about a positive family atmosphere.

As positive parents we need or kids to have respect for us. I feel that if parents have moved in the wrong direction by being their kids’ friend, it does not mean that all is lost. I feel that anyone can start over and begin to practice being a positive parent.

After all, what kind of parents we are will determine what kind of parents they will become.



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