Trying to be your child's best friend is not only ineffective, it's irresponsible, Rabbi Shmuley says. Parents should have the confidence to lay down the law in order to gain their child's respect and raise a capable young adult, he says. If your child is walking all over you, here are Rabbi Shmuley's tips for reclaiming your rightful role as head of the household:
- Never parent out of fear. Don't be afraid that your children aren't going to love you, Rabbi Shmuley says. "Don't show your kids your weak side," he says. "If you don't act like you're in charge, they won't respect you—they'll disrespect you."
- Know that your children need moms and dads. If you do parent out of fear, Rabbi Shmuley says your children will hold it against you when they get older since they will have many friends, but only two parents.
- Discipline is key. Parents are, above all else, authority figures. "As a parent, you are wiser and have more experience to guide them," Rabbi Shmuley says.
- Teach your children the virtue of respect. Part of having good manners is for children to respect their parents, Rabbi Shmuley says. "To get them to do that, however, you have to act like a parent, and not a best friend," he says.
- Understand that children thrive on structure. Rabbi Shmuley says it's up to parents to impose things like bedtimes, how much TV they can watch and other necessary limits. "Don't always give in, and make sure kids have boundaries," he says. "It's essential to their development."
"Your house should not be a democracy, but rather, a dictatorship. Don't be afraid to impose rules and structure, and don't try to be your kids' best friend. They can have lots of friends, but only have one mom and one dad."