Some parents want to be the “cool parent,” but they don’t want to be that parent who acts like one of the kids. It is possible to be cool and still be a responsible parent and a good role model for your child. Set the right boundaries and employ a few tricks, and your kids will both respect you and have the freedom to learn how to grow into a well behaved adult.
Kids value their privacy. They need their own private space to feel independent and discover things on their own. There’s nothing very cool about a parent who hovers all the time. So back off a little, and let your kids have the space they need. If they share a room with a sibling, try to work out times of day when each child can feel like it’s their own space.
Invite their Friends
Kids think it’s cool when their friends are allowed to come over, so ask if they’d like their friends over. You don’t want your home to be overrun with extra kids all of the time, so you need to set some boundaries. You may decide that friends can come over at a certain time of day, once homework is completed, for example. Tell your children that you support their friends coming over, but they should be well behaved and do their best not to complain when they have to go home. Compromise is part of parenthood, so sometimes if their friends want to stay later and everything is going well, let them! Treat them to snacks and drinks, and if you need to set boundaries with the rough housing or screaming too loudly while you work, ask your child to come talk to you in private instead of in front of their friends.
Don’t Display Public Affection
As kids get a little older, it’s natural to feel embarrassed by their parents being around. It’s likely more about them than it is about you, so try not to let it hurt your feelings. You and your child love each other, but this is not necessarily something your kid wants. Employ the hugs before you leave the house while they are still excited to go where they are going. Those hugs will be better anyway.
You can work out a special little signal that means “I love you” in place of a hug or a kiss. A wink, a head nod, or something like that is a great substitute. And in the eyes of kids, it’s much cooler.
Encourage your child to talk to you. Let them know that they can tell you anything and you will try to be understanding and help them with their problems. If your child comes to you with something bad that happened, try to keep calm. If you are level headed and talk things through and come up with solutions, they will learn from that and start applying it to their lives. If they tell you they did something wrong, you should talk to them about it and also help them learn from their mistakes to not do it again. Keeping a calm tone is better for everyone than yelling, and they will retain more of the conversation.