The Problem With Peerenting: A Modern Family Dilemma

tumblr_meby36cNNK1qdo2izo1_500“Act like a parent, talk like a peer. I call it peerenting. ” It’s one of my favorite Phil Dunphy lines in Modern Family. It’s clever, it’s an honest approach and it always makes me laugh.

It’s the kind of thing that makes me so incredibly happy that Modern Family won at the Emmies yesterday and that they’re coming to USA Network this week.

And it’s not just because Phil’s delivery is so earnest, but also because he really believes that “peerenting” is a good way to raise his kids. That’s where Phil and I disagree. I think many modern families have a problem with pereenting and in the long run kids are suffering because of it.

What’s With All the Peerenting?

There’s a distinct difference in how modern parents are raising and relating to their kids than from previous generations. Many of my kids’ friends are the king of the castle in their homes. They get to call the shots about what they want to do (and not do), when they want to do it (or not), and how they go about doing it (or don’t).

The word “No,” doesn’t enter into conversation nearly as much as I think it should, and parents are stepping in to solve problem that kids need to be figuring out for themselves.

Sorry Phil, I’m Not Peerenting

My teenager is one of very few of her friends who has a job, my tween has limits on his video game time–something that’s unheard of in many of his friend’s houses–and our preschooler doesn’t know a single swear word. That’s not to say we’re perfect parents. We’re not. We’re definitely not, but we’re definitely not peerents, either.

By the nature of our jobs, my husband and I keep up to date on technology and social media. We’re both a little quirky, love an odd joke and are happily raising our kids to unleash their inner geeks.

That’s not the same thing as being their friends, though. First and foremost we are parents who set boundaries, say “no,” and help our children through solving their own problems. We’re not peerents. How do I know?

Signs You’re Being a Peerent

Well, Peerents are afraid of hearing the word “no” from their kids! Sometimes, though, the signs you’re being a peerent instead of a parent aren’t that obvious. Over on Popsugar Moms, I detailed the five signs that you may be more peer than parent to your child.

Read the 5 Signs You’re Being a “Peerent,” Not a Parent on Popsugar Moms


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About Amanda

Amanda Morin is author of The Everything Kids' Learning Activities Book, a former teacher/early intervention specialist and mother of three. She is the writer and editor for’s Kids’ Learning Activities site, a regular contributor to PopSugar Moms and her parenting articles have been featured on and, among other sites. Amanda knows that hands-on, fun activities are the best way to promote learning and wants to provide parents with the information they need to find products that promote fun learning.

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