One of the biggest and most common mistakes moms can make is to try to be their child’s best friend. Yes, you want your child to love you. However, being their friend means you don’t have to step up and manage the difficult moments. This leaves your child short-changed and often ill-equipped to deal with the challenges that life often brings.
- Your Child Needs Structure and Discipline – It’s perfectly okay to be a friend to your child. However, when you become a BFF then you’re positioning your child as the authority in the relationship. Children of every age need structure and guidance. Yes, sometimes when you impose structure into your child’s life they may get mad at you.That doesn't mean they don’t love you. In fact, children often feel closer to their parents when they do impose rules and guidelines. So go ahead and give your child a curfew or make them do their homework and impose consequences when they fail to follow through. They’ll thank you for it in the long run.
- Adult Relationships and Peer Relationships Are Different – The boundaries between what is acceptable to share with your child are blurred when you try to be their BFF. Let’s face it, there are some aspects of your life and your relationships that your child shouldn't be part of. Your relationships with your spouse or partner are just one example. Your child shouldn't be your confidant. It’s confusing for them. Likewise they should be allowed to turn to their peers for insight, communication, and advice, particularly when they’re in their teenage years. They need to be able to have relationships that are separate from their relationship with their mom.
- Dependency – If you or your child become dependent on one another for friendship it can backfire. If there’s a disagreement or a conflict, that friendship and the mother-daughter relationship can be destroyed. On the other hand, if you’re a mother to your child rather than their friend, the dependency is different and easier to manage. You have the freedom to communicate more freely with one another without fearing you’ll hurt feelings or destroy the friendship.
A friend is someone who is supportive, someone you can have a good time with, and someone that you can count on. It is possible to be both a parent and a friend. However, if you find yourself venturing into the BFF type relationship where you’re allowing your child to make the rules, confiding in them too much, and feeling dependent on their happiness for your own, then it’s time to take a step back and reclaim your role as mom.