In the past in our culture there was no doubt your parent was your parent. Parents told their children what to do and never asked them what they wanted to do. Children were to be obedient. No excuses were allowed to be uttered.
Today's parents are restrained from being in charge of their children's morals, values and behavior. Modern parents' ultimate mission with their children is to be their friends. This presents major difficulties for a parent doing her duty to protect and train her children to be successful. When a parent's number one priority is to be a friend to one's child the word "no" becomes taboo.
Miley Cyrus's obscene appearance on the Video Music Awards program became the rage of social networking sites and the media world. Her new image of a raunchy 20-year-old celebrity in the mode of Madonna, Lindsay Lohan or Lady Gaga is mind-blowing to her young fans who idolized her as all-American Hannah Montana.
Billie Ray Cyrus, of "Achy, Breaky Heart" fame, may be ecstatic over his daughter's incredible star status and even said he supports her new image makeover. Although, as her father he has to know her career is on a track to be a train wreck. His allowing her to have her own living quarters at age 16 and his inability to stand firm as a father to protect her has led her to the path of self-destructive, infamous stardom.
Parents should learn a lesson from these star's lifestyles to beware that being BFF (Best Friends Forever) with one's child is a mission impossible. A parent can attempt to reprogram instinctual urges but at a high probability that they will lose sight of how to protect their child. The father and mother can make all of their decisions to appease their child, but the child will suffer. The child will be disrespectful to her parents as the parents did not have the respect for their role of establishing limits and parameters.
Parents can imitate their child's speech from infant to teenager using the child's fad vocabulary instead of speaking to them as an adult. They can even go so far as attending the latest concerts while dressing like their teenager to blend into the younger crowd. In other words do everything possible to be a friend to their child to please her.
A youngster interacts with many peers. Most will be acquaintances, although a few will become friends. Some will take on idol status for the pre or full-fledged teen. These few will become the child's best friends who will have a powerful influence on behavior. This peer role modeling often is not what the parent wanted or expected.
The "friend parent" is shocked when her youngster goes behind her back engaging in partying, drinking and drug-taking behavior. The parents thinks that since they shared their most inner thoughts and feelings, their child would never do such a thing. This is delusional.
From an outsider's perspective, it is understandable that the youngster was pretending to be a BFF to her parent. Initially the intimate relationship might have appeared to resemble a friendship, but the child knew before everyone else that this adult was a parent. The child would have many good reasons to go along with the game of being a friend from simply having the parent's undivided attention to all the special privileges granted to the child to go along with this charade.
Finally, when the pre/teenager rebels to continue the covert self-destructive behavior regardless of the pleas and demands of the parent she realizes the child is out-of-control. The parent eventually comprehends that the friendship was a one-sided farce.
The youngster makes it clear in tantrum after tantrum that he/she is not going to go back into the bottle after the genie has been let out. This young person has announced to the parents and the world that she will no longer be coaxed and bribed into again pretending to be a friend to the parent. The youngster has her own social world of friends and no longer needs or wants to pretend to be BFF.
Dr. Domenick Maglio is an author and owner/director of Wider Horizons School, a college prep program. You can visit Dr. Maglio at www.drmaglio.blogspot.com.