Where is the Emotional Guideline Handbook for raising children?
No, seriously. I need that.
From what I can tell, there are two camps. There are parents who confide emotionally in their children and there are those who refrain from engaging their children on any emotional level for fear of being emotionally manipulated by them. I know there are (there have to be!) also parents who have managed to dig out some middle ground, but as with everything in life, the extremes make the most noise and get the most attention. I understand the temptation to veer really hard one way or the other.
While I think “everything in moderation” is highly overrated (and frankly, stupid) I do strive to find middle ground in my parenting. For example, I’m not a schedule Nazi with Dillinger but I also work toward a general routine with him. I feel like there has to be balance in being an emotional safe haven for our kids while not allowing them as they get older to manipulate us.
While friendship is pushing it, I still want my son to enjoy being around me. I want him to feel comfortable confiding in me for as long as possible. It seems like self-sabotage to tell your kids you want them to like you, though. Any good parent has made peace with being the bad guy sometimes.
So if any of you see the handbook on balancing emotional honesty and support with your children, please send it my way!