Morrison (1978) defined parenting as "the process of developing and utilising the knowledge and skills appropriate to planning for, creating, giving birth to, rearing and/or providing care for offspring". This definition implies that parenting starts when there is a plan for it and it involves not just bringing up the children but also providing the care they need. Being a parent is a life-long commitment. Parents are responsible to take good care of their children physically as well as psychologically. However this is easier said than done at times. Caring for a child physically may be easy but the problem arises when the parent is confronted with what it means to ensure the psychological well being of the child.
The child is not a child forever but grows into a teenager and then a young adult. Numerous changes occur as children grow up and parents are supposed to change accordingly providing necessary support or discipline. It is sometimes difficult to draw the line between being the "parent" and the friend. Sometimes the responsibilities of a ‘parent' can be seen from a negative lens , due to erroneous associations of the parent being a strict, disciplinarian, firm human being whose role in the family is to thrash the children when they misbehave. Because of this perception children think that they cannot tell parents their secrets.
To be a parent also involves being a friend. The key is to know where to draw the line...
Being a parent, which includes being a friend, doesn't mean that the parent engages in the child's whims and fancies ( getting drunk, throwing tantrums etc) but it does involve setting an example and getting the child over to your side, instead of appeasing the child's wishes. It is being approachable and letting the child know clearly that you love them at all times even when they are in the wrong, and that you are not their enemy or on the other side, but you are with them in their growing. Communication therefore becomes an important tool in facilitating this. A word of caution here when children share things to you as parents, its important not to use it against them on another occasion when disciplining them. You might need to be more a parent than a friend to small children, to teens more a friend but a parent too, having to be the one who makes the final decision on certain important matters, and reducing this as the teenager turns an adult.
So parents, you would have to work on this in your family-probably learning how to balance between being a parent and being a friend .