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Episode 80: Why Kids Need A Parent Not A Friend


Why Being Your Children’s Friend Is A Rotten Idea?

Have you ever wondered what your children think of your parenting style, but you’re too afraid to ask? Had an awesome discussion with my daughter, Kira.

I had a brainwave the other week: wouldn’t it be cool to ask my kids what they thought of my parenting style and how it’s affected them, what did and didn’t work, what they’d change, what they’ll keep for when they become parents.

Then I realised what I might be opening myself up for and had a full-on meltdown: this was a thoroughly stupid idea.

But I sucked it up and got on with it, mainly because I was curious to find out what they actually did think, and while I was totally hoping that they’d say, “No, you were awesome, Mum! I wouldn’t change a thing!”, there was also this macabre desire to find out where I went wrong and how I completely ruined my kids’ lives so I could beat myself up about it.

You're Supposed To Be A Parent Not A Friend

I’ve got to say right here that I was the subject of more than one meme among her friends for several (in)famous incidents, not least of which was Kira being grounded and missing her Year 11 Formal!

Interestingly, we didn’t cover that in this chat, it’s definitely a fabulous subject for another time!

  • Why was I adamant that I was not a friend to the kids as they were growing up?
  • Why don’t I consider my kids were difficult teenagers?
  • Why do I hate the way kids behave in American TV shows (vast generalisation here!) and why was I so vocal about that not being acceptable behaviour?
  • How have John & I managed to stay together for so long (30 years!) and how come we never argue?
  • Why did I allow Kira to go to boarding school when she was 10 years old and how was that for me?

That last question led to a very interesting conversation with Kira about her experiences of boarding at such a young age.

Apart from the episode I did last week with my second son, Ryan (you can listen to that here), I also did a podcast a while ago talking about why I believe Boys Need Rules, but girls aren’t much different, to be honest. (you can listen to that podcast here)

And NOTE: these are all my opinions. They’re not the only ones and they’re not the truth, they’re just what worked for me.

If you want to read some books that I thought were absolutely brilliant (partly because they completely validated my own beliefs about parenting! Check out Celia Lashlie’s books.

Celia was a prison officer in a juvenile detention centre who went on to be a psychologist and travelled around schools in Australia and New Zealand to talk to parents about teenage boys’ need for rules.

In this episode, I speak to Kira, my 20-year old eldest daughter, who shocked me by turning up armed with a full-on list of questions as to why I did certain things and why I rarely conformed with what her peers (and their parents) felt was “acceptable” parenting.

Menopause, Marriage and Motherhood

About Today’s Guest Kira O’Connor

Photography Degree student, Specialising in Fine Art Photography

I knew exactly what I’m doing, and I hate it.

For as long as she can recall, Kira had a fascination and love for horses. At the age of 4, she began partaking in equine lessons, and before long found herself working towards her dream of competing at an Olympic level.

By the age of 9, Kira was already preparing for the day that she could dedicate every waking hour to her horse riding; and so began the journey of convincing her parents to let her attend an equine boarding school.

A year later, Kira found herself flying six hours to the other side of the country to attend New England Girls School.

Menopause, Marriage and Motherhood

For the next five years she was living her dream, living on an equine based campus and riding up to five hours per day on top of her studies.

On June 27th 2015, Kira was thrown from her favourite horse and the resulting head injury has – and will continue to be – a challenging road to recovery. However, since she was unable to either ride or attend school, Kira developed a passion for fine art photography.

Now in her third and final year of her Bachelor of Photography, Kira is currently in the process of creating a series discussing the realities of brain injuries and amnesia.

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Menopause, Marriage and Motherhood

Kira O’Connor