The word "peerenting" may be fairly new, but chances are you already know a peerent, or maybe even are one yourself. You know, the mom who describes herself as her daughter's best friend or the dad who overshares about his life. Peerents are afraid of hearing the word "no" from their kids! Sometimes, though, the signs you're being a peerent instead of a parent aren't that obvious. Here are the five signs that you may be more peer than parent to your child.
You don't say "no" to your kids.
We all struggle with setting boundaries once in a while, and few parents enjoy being the disciplinarian. But if you're constantly ignoring your better instincts and letting your child do what he wants so you don't hurt his feelings, you're acting more like a peerent than a parent. Parents know that even though it feels awful, you have to be the bad guy and set limits when your child is running wild.
You shop at the same clothing stores as your kid.
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It may be cute to wear matching outfits when your child is a toddler, but as they get older, it's not. Your child needs to develop her own style and wear what her friends are wearing without worrying that you'll be rummaging through her closet for something "cool" to wear. It's not that big a deal if you're shopping at a store that sells clothes for all ages, but when you start wearing the same styles as your tween or teen, you may be toeing the parent-peerent line.
You treat your child like a friend.
There's a big difference between being friendly with your child and having common interests, and treating him like a friend. Your child doesn't need to know about your love life or why you think your boss isn't treating you fairly at work — that's peerenting. A parent doesn't use a child as a life coach.
You fix your child's problems for him.
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No parents want to see their child struggle, but sometimes you have to let go a little to let her grow a little. You might be a peerent if you listen to your children's worries, fears, and concerns and then come up with a plan of action for the two of you to fix everything together. Or worse, intervene without her even knowing. Parents help kids learn to solve their own problems; peerents tend to do too much for their kids.
You let your kid call all the shots.
There's nothing wrong with letting your child be a part of the decision-making process around the house, but if you're tiptoeing around and letting him rule with a heavy hand, that's a fair sign you're peerenting and not parenting. Parents know that they are in charge and make the big decisions about how life at home is going to go. It's one thing to let your child decide what color to paint his room, but it's quite another to let him veto the colors you want to paint your room!
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