Often times, parents are advised to tell their children, “My job is to be your parent, not your friend.” This is often said as a justification for the use of severe consequences. We agree that the job of a parent is to be a parent rather than a friend. However, when stated this way, it suggests that the opposite of friend is parent. Of course, we know that the opposite of friend is enemy. So, although your job is not to be your child’s friend, that does not mean you should be your child’s enemy.
Being a parent means teaching your child the skills they need to navigate life’s challenges. Consequences do not teach those skills, especially for a child who is exhibiting significant skill delays. Imposing consequences for a child who has skill delays can often make you feel like enemies. So, be your child’s parent, by collaboratively solving problems, and help them learn the skills they need to become the independent, self-reliant, and confident person you want them to be.