When a child is very young, her mom serves as her protector, her provider and her everything. At a very young age, children learn that the best place to go for answers, help and love is their parents. But as the child grows older, the relationship may change — especially during the teenage years.
Many teenagers and pre-teens can view their mother (and father) as the enemy. After all, the parents are the ones that make all the rules and provide the discipline at this time in life when children crave independence and want to explore their horizons. Because of this, conflict often arises in the home and teens can become secretive about their friends, their interests and their whereabouts. This leads to even more conflict between mothers and daughters.
For this reason, many mothers often strive to develop a friendship with their teenage daughters, hoping their daughters will open up and see them as a confidante rather than a parental figure.
Striving to be a cool, hip mom that your teenage daughter can relate to can definitely have its benefits. If your daughter views you as her friend, she may be more likely to come to you with problems and ask questions when faced with difficult decisions about drinking, drugs, sex and life. However, you should be aware that you might learn some things that you didn't really want to know.
Though being close to your daughter can be very beneficial through teenage years, it can also backfire. A friend-mom may avoid confronting or punishing a child because she wants to maintain the friendship. In other words, you may become too soft when it comes to discipline. In some instances, the mother may also discourage the teenager from having friends her own age, taking risks and experiencing new things. In other words, the mother may think she can be "the everything" to her child once again.
In order to grow into adults, your children must develop confidence, independence and responsibility, and they must make some mistakes on their own and suffer the consequences. If a mother is too much of a friend, a teenager may not have the opportunity to experience such growth.
You need to achieve a balance. Let your children know that they can always come to you with any problem, question or situation and you will listen with open ears and an open heart. But also let them know that your role in their lives first and foremost is as their mother — not their friend. If they break rules, they will suffer the consequences.
You will continue to provide your children with structure, discipline and stability until they reach adulthood. And though there may be many disagreements and challenges along the way, balancing the roles of mother and friend to your children will help them develop into healthy, happy and productive adults.
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