HEALTHY LIVING

When Parents Become 'Friends' With Their Kids (VIDEO)

08/18/2010 02:58 pm ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

There has been a shift in parenting behavior from the authoritative superior to wanting to be best friends with your kids -- a trend child psychologist Jennifer Hartstein refers to as "dangerous water."

"You are never at the same level as your kids. As a parent, there's a power differential," Hartstein said on CBS's Early Show. "There's a boundary issue there, and once that's crossed it's very hard to go back."

Parents expect things of their children, and vice versa, that are not expected of friends, she explains.

But being "BFFs" with your kids can be very tempting, partly because parents think it will make kids more likely to open up share information with them.

A better approach, says Hartstein, is to set the tone for open and honest communication without crossing the line and getting too buddy buddy.

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