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Not. A parent is a parent, or at least that is the way that it should be. If you treat a child as your equal, then you are attempting to be their friend and not a parent, and treating them like a friend undermines your authority, and children need to have an authority figure who sets boundaries and enforces the rules.
They should not be treated as equals. I agree with K. Burns Darling. It is not a parent's responsibility or role to be his/her child's friend. It is a parent's responsibility to raise their child to be a productive member of society and the community they live in.
I believe there is a reason for the two definitions, parent and child. If we treat a child as an equal, can we then expect a stop to snotty noses and temper tantrums, gales of laughter and unconditional love? Are the parents now allowed to spill the milk and play hooky?
Hey wait a minute.... maybe you're on to something here!!!
I imagined myself as kind of a "team leader" when it came to my three children. I was the one who set the rules and the overall "agenda"; and I established a kind of "take-it-for-granted" thing that meant they just sort of saw me as that "team leader". I wasn't just a "team leader" though. I was also the one they knew would protect them and do what I could to help them deal with, or put into perspective, any problems/sadness that arose.
THEN, though, how I interacted with them, and saw them, was with the same kind of respect that I expected them to show toward me. (So basically, the word "treat" is one that I don't see as "all one thing".) Besides respecting them as separate human beings from myself, I also made it a point (as a parent, aka "team leader") to let them know how absolutely valued, adored, and treasured they were. I once read that genuine and healthy love must always include both respect and admiration. I had, and showed, both of those toward my children. It's possible to do that but still be that "team leader" who establishes a basic framework of rules and how things will be done.
I didn't want my children to be "my little servants", or "trophies" or "subordinates" or "objects" or even "cutesy little dolls". I remembered how it felt to be a young children and how important it is not to feel dismissed or demeaned or disregarded as a child.
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