When baby boomers get together, we often talk about our observations of parenting now, one of which is that today’s parents want to be liked by their children. What is lacking in an adult that they want to be liked by a child? Furthermore, what could it possibly mean that a child — an emotionally immature, ignorant human being — likes you? Or, at any given moment in time, does not?

It means to the parent in question that he or she is doing a splendid job. Being liked by one’s child is the measure of a parent these days, or so it seems. If you are not liked, then you need correction. It is indeed odd that grown-ups — or supposed grown-ups — think in those terms.

The reason may ask: What is so bad about wanting to be your child’s friend?

There are at least five bads:

First, a parent’s task is to raise a child into adulthood. To accomplish that requires a parent who acts capable of the heavy lifting often required. The parent-friend lowers himself to his child’s level, rendering himself so incapable.

Second, a parent who desires, above all else, a wonderful relationship with one’s child is incapable of delivering effective discipline. Discipline, if it is properly corrective, does not make the recipient feel warm and fuzzy toward the agent of correction.

Third, the parent allows himself to be manipulated by his child’s emotional output, which becomes, over time, more and more uncivil. Said parent interprets his child’s emotional outbursts as evidence (a) he has done something wrong and needs to correct it or (b) that something is wrong in his child’s life and he needs to discover it and fix it. That boils down to the child being in complete control of the relationship.

Fourth, we have defined a codependent relationship in which said parent becomes an enabler whose job is to always make sure his child is happy.

A reader shouts: What’s wrong with that?

Because your job is to prepare your child for responsible living in the real world, and the real world is full of disappointment, failure, loss, and other stuff that isn’t “happy.” Accepting those realities is to become emotionally resilient, and emotional resilience is key to personal satisfaction.

Fifth, enabled people almost always think of themselves as victims. No amount of enabling can defeat life’s realities. So, enabled people are unhappy.

If you think you can defend your attempt to be your child’s friend, I’d love to hear from you. Email me at radio@rosemond.com.