Originally Published: July 10, 2016 6 a.m.
Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,
I just want you to know that I have been reading your columns recently. However, you are very out-dated. The advice you offer just isn’t real. And our kids need real advice.
I’m 55 years old and I have two kids. My daughter is in high school and my son is adopted and going into fifth grade. I’ve been divorced twice and now I have been living with someone who’s been a better father to my kids than either dad.
We don’t feel it’s necessary to get married to have a great family. We do everything together and we’re very close. My daughter and I go to lunch once a week and I talk with her about everything. She is mature enough to handle it. She doesn’t judge me.
Both of my kids have excellent grades, do well in sports, and practice their own talents. My daughter is an amazing dancer and artist. I’m an artist also. My son is a mathematical genius and will have many opportunities to receive scholarships to any school he wants.
I wanted to write you because I feel you can make a difference by helping kids who have real problems.
Please get real with our society.
Friends with my kids
We congratulate you on your kids’ talent development, but that’s not really the issue here. While we understand that you want an emotionally close bond with your children, we disagree strongly with a parent-child peer bonded relationship for the following reasons:
• Kids want and need structure and boundaries. It’s their rock-solid foundation to start from and learn how to develop trust and self-confidence. A strong foundation base gives them safety in knowing what’s “real” (and what “really” works) and how they may build their individuality from that safe grounding.
Friends confide their doubts and mistakes. Friends lean on each other and ask for advice.
Friends aren’t necessarily accountable to each others’ rules and specific beliefs. Kids need accountability to learn from and become consistent.
• Kids need authority. Kids learn respect from others who have more experience, who know right from wrong in specific terms and have “real” rules and role-models to safely follow. Great leaders know how to define themselves from following great examples of righteousness. If too much power is given to kids, they will ultimately create a society of anarchy and volatility.
• Kids need to learn what’s appropriate and what’s not appropriate. A parent is responsible to teach their children spiritual, moral, emotional, intellectual and ethical values to live by.
For example, as a parent you may set a responsible curfew and if your child breaks that curfew, you will need a consistent consequence to give your child. As a friend, you would not give consequences. A child learns by following rules and receiving the positive or negative consequences.
• Kids need to learn how to separate from their parents. In fact, we know this is the job of a child. If you are friends with your child, they will not feel comfortable separating and learning to Define Yourself Before Others Do™ (A must for each individual person to learn of their own self-worth) and they will end up with emotional and social problems in life. You will feel betrayed when your “friend” decides to be their own person and most often blame your “friend.”
We’re Christians and we believe in marriage before sex. We’re glad you wrote to us so we may expound on the roles we believe parents and their children participate in the eyes of our Creator and Lord.
Rhonda and Dr. Cheri
Rhonda Orr is the president and founder of the Prescott-based Rhonda’s STOP BULLYING Foundation.
Dr. Cheri L. McDonald, PhD, LMFT, is a crime-victim specialist. Send your anonymous questions to Rhonda@rhondastopbullying.org.
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