Never try to relive your childhood through your kids. That is a number one NO-NO. You’ve had your chance to live the dream once; now it is their turn to express what they truly want in their lives. Your job is to guide your kids through their journeys. You might have wanted to be a professional roller skater; but disco baby — those glory days are over.
Get to know your kids’ pals and respect them. This does not mean you have to pretend that you like the same style of clothes and music and start wearing your cap backwards. Just try to be a buddy. It can be fun getting to know the friends of your children, see what they are like and what makes them tick. They can sometimes help you learn more about your own kids.
Steer clear from having to know every single detail of their lives. Choose your battles and give them some privacy—not too much. It’s a delicate balance, because you still need to keep a watchful eye on them as there are all kinds of sickos out there waiting to pounce on your innocent one.
Always listen intently when your kid tells you something about anything, no matter how disinterested or busy you may be at the time. If you seem uninterested too many times, they may just not tell you anything anymore. Now, that could be a dangerous thing. Especially when you are in the dark about the happenings of your kid’s day-to-day life. If they care to let you in on their secret protected realm of their lives—treasure it. They might just realise how cool and wise you really are…
Open up your home to your kids’ friends. It is better that they hang out at your place ( a controlled environment) rather than some unknown location where scary and unpredictable things could happen. Have little parties, feed them with not-so-healthy food like pizza, chips, ice-cream and cookies (in moderation) — which they will surely like. Surprise them. If their friends think you are cool, then your kids might too. Make your place a fun and safe haven for kids.
Be genuinely excited about their passions. If your child has a show-and-tell, performance, dance recital or any form of showcase; then make it a point to show up. There are too many kids who get really disappointed when their parents do not show their support. Show them you are there for them in mundane times as well as fun times.
Share in their bad times. As a parent, you know how to handle sadness, disappointments and bouts of depressive moods swings. Don’t shrug off the so-called “little things” just because they are not monumental “adult” problems. These little issues are massive to your child and once again they need your guidance and support—emotionally, spiritually as well as physically.
To sum it up, it isn’t that hard to be a cool parent. Or maybe you can never be a cool parent—but showing all your love and care makes you that much cooler. Just be yourself and be a part of your child’s everyday life. Also, recognize that parents don’t know everything and we are not expected to know everything off the cuff. Don’t worry, your kids will feel it and know it thus be better because of it—‘it’ being LOVE. Be confident — as that is coolness by itself. Parenting is a learning process and that is why we are here—to help you be better parents in every way we can.