The dangers of being your child’s best friend

The dangers of being your child's best friend

The dangers of being your child’s best friend

Below is a transcript of an interview Human Behavior Expert and Celebrity Life Coach, Patrick Wanis PhD gave to a researcher about a new trend of parents trying to be friends with their children.

  1. Is it becoming more common for parents to try and be friends with their kids, instead of parents?

Patrick: Yes and we see it with celeb parents as well. Look at the damage that occurred as a result of Miley Cyrus’ dad Billy Ray Cyrus trying to be her best friend, as well as the regrets that he expressed over that bad mistake and poor judgment.

Also read my article “Miley’s dad – big mistakes and bad parenting” where I reveal the mistakes and lessons from Miley Cyrus and her father Billy Ray Cyrus who now claims the TV show destroyed their family.

Q. What are the causes and motivations behind parents trying to be friends with their kids, instead of parents?

Patrick:  First: the parents are seeking approval from their children and trying to be softer and kinder than their parents were; second: many divorced and single parents are juggling jobs, household responsibilities and raising children so they have less time to socialize, have friends and form bonds outside the family; third: we are becoming obsessed with youth and staying young and therefore many parents want to hang out with their kids rather than raise them.  Read my article about our obsession with youth:

I teach that the parent’s role is simply to raise a child to his/her full potential. And you cannot do that when you are trying to get them to like you!

Q. What are the dangers of this for the child AND the parent?

Patrick: When parents turn to their children for approval and for emotional support, they create enmeshment – the child is not able to form his or her own identity independent of their parent. The child misses out on needed structure, guidance and discipline and develops anxiety as an adult.

It is damaging for the child and parent when the parent misses out on having (or chooses not to have) a real relationship with another adult (spouse, romantic partner, etc) and then becomes attached and dependent on the child and subsequently becomes lost, devastated or even depressed when the child reaches for his/her own independence and life. Many male adult clients relate to me the problem they in forming healthy and meaningful relationships with women because they still have a subconscious drive to rescue their single mother (from depression, unhappiness and so forth) and they suffer from guilt, anxiety, helplessness or depression because feel that they failed and couldn’t save or rescue their mother. These men also often feel a deep resentment towards women because they have never experienced nurturing from a woman, were never able to be a child or learn to receive, and they were forced to play the role of an adult from an early age.

One parent may even cling to a child to make up for what he or she is lacking in the marriage (companionship, friendship, connection, security, affection and self-esteem.) [Listen to “Stop being your child’s friend” my interview with Dr. Vicki Panaccione, Child Psychologist and founder of The Better Parenting Institute]

Q. When we see things like a mother essentially being dressed by their daughter, is that ever appropriate?

Patrick: It is never appropriate for a daughter to be telling her mother what to wear, because even if the mother is dressing in a wrong, sexually provocative manner and the daughter tries to correct the mother, then the daughter is playing the role of mother. Best way to handle it is for daughter to find an adult mediator to assist. Also, if the daughter is trying to dress the mom to be hip or fashionable, then she is controlling the mother and by agreeing, the mother is seeking the child’s approval and guidance and this prevents the mother from ever disciplining the child. The exception would be when the daughter is a fully grown adult and is making a recommendation or suggestion as would two women speaking to each other – but never in childhood.

Q. What does that say about the mum?

Patrick: When mom is turning to her daughter to dress her or allowing her daughter to dress her, then it is most likely that mom is insecure, is trying to please her daughter, be best friends and doesn’t have enough female friends to guide her. Mom might not have had an involved mother when growing up and now she is trying to force the daughter to play that role – but the daughter cannot replace that missing mom/role – and nor should she for the reasons explained above.

Q. What advice can you give?

Patrick: First: parents need to become very clear and constantly aware of their role in raising children – to offer them and provide them with all that is necessary to help the child realize his/her full potential. Second: Keep your emotional issues separate from children – they are not the source of your emotional support. Third, reassure your children that whatever you are going through is not your child’s responsibility or fault. Fourth: watch my video where I reveal how you can protect your children from you:

And read my article about why you must put your marriage first before your children and everything else. It sounds counter-intuitive but you will be shocked yet enlightened by the revelations:

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5 replies
  1. Avatar
    jp says:

    Hello from Austin Texas ,
    Trying to find answers for my pdd child who has spent the last few years alone with out any peer to peer inter action , all because of pdd / autism .
    We thought moving to austin texas was goin to be a good thing for are child , bug it turned out o be the worst !

    The bottom line , if you do not have the ” big money ” to pay all the people you need to be able to make a some what happy life for your child then your just a other person conplaning ..

    We never got though the process to get are child in to school , because without a power attorney you got nothing but lies told your face ..

    Anyway , just trying to find help in a land of helplessness ..


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