There are reasons why you SHOULD try to be popular with your kids, including teens!
How many times have we all heard, “Parenting is not a popularity contest”? What this refers to is the observation that parents try to get their kids to “like” them, or are upset that their children or teens seemingly don’t “like” them.
They are reminded by other parents that being a parent isn’t a popularity contest.
But actually, it should be. Now think about that for a moment: If you’re popular with your kids…you’ll be the first, or at least one of the first, people they will come to for advice and counsel.
If you’re NOT popular with your children and teens, then gee…why on earth would they ever trust YOU with the big problems in their life (and by “big,” I mean not only what seems monumental to them, and what truly is monumental)?
So yes, parenthood should be a popularity contest.
The issue, then, is how to be popular with your kids. This is where some parents get off track.
But just because they get off track doesn’t mean it’s a mistake to try to be popular with your children or teenagers.
It’s simple: They won’t come to you for guidance if they don’t like you. They won’t listen to you if they don’t like you. They will tune you out if you’re not popular with them.
And I don’t mean technical guidance, such as how to cook something, how to do something on the computer, how to work with your phone’s new app, or help with some story problems in math.
I’m talking about life advice. Parents who are popular with their kids will be the first picks when it comes to life advice.
- If your children like you, they will take your lead and admire you.
- They will trust you.
- They will talk to you.
- They will listen. And isn’t all of that what you want?
Would YOU ever seek counsel from another adult—if you didn’t like that person?
Of course not! Imagine how uncomfortable you’d feel if you tried to pour out your troubles and worries to someone whom you did not like. Think about that.
And even if they offered good advice, you’d be hearing it through a skewered lens, and thus would miss its merit.
Now imagine how difficult it would be for someone whose brain isn’t even finished developing to share their concerns and anxieties with someone they didn’t like.
As a parent, your goal should be to get your kids to like you—and this is accomplished by making them feel they can come to you about anything without facing ridicule, criticism, judgment or anger.
You cannot buy your child’s trust and admiration.
So why do some parents scowl at the idea of being “popular” with their kids?
Other than the fact that some parents believe that in order to be “popular” with their children, they must spend a lot of money on the coolest gadgets and clothes for them (wrong, wrong, wrong!), the issue may very well be semantics.
“I prefer to say that parents want to be well-connected and close with their children than using the word popular,” says Stacy Kaiser, a southern California-based licensed psychotherapist and relationship expert with a special interest in the topic of bullying.
Kaiser continues, “Parents who are well-connected with their kids typically end up having children who are open with them, who will share things with them, and who will go to them for advice.
“As a parent, it is very important to always maintain the parental role. While we can be close with them and have a friendship with them, we must always remember that there is a hierarchy and that we are a parent.”
With over 100 TV appearances on major networks including CNN, NBC, CBS and ABC, Stacy Kaiser brings a unique mix of provocative insight to many topics such as anger management, office relationship issues and parenting.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.