Fort Worth, Texas,
10:19 AM

Be the mom, not another BFF

Why moms shouldn't worry about being 'un-cool' with their child

As your daughter travels through her teen years, it can sometimes be tempting to act as her friend rather than her mother.

After all, who doesn’t remember being judged by the cool kid in school. And now it’s your daughter doing the judging?

But to help ensure your daughter’s positive transition into womanhood, it’s better to suppress your fear of being “un-cool” in your teen’s eyes and work toward gaining her respect instead.

“Sometimes, moms feel like that stepping into a peer-like role will enable them to find out more about their daughters’ lives,” said Lena Zettler, MA, LPA, director of psychology at Cook Children’s. “Frequently, however, that approach backfires, because the information they learn isn’t always innocent or pleasant. When you suddenly step out of that friend role and become the mother again, it’s very confusing to a teen.”

Finding a balance

In general, mothers are the managers of their children’s emotional and social lives. Because of this, the line between friendships and mother-daughter relationships can get blurry. A good rule of thumb to remember – most teens want to have friends their own age and their parent should play a supportive role.

It’s important to enforce limits and set expectations. If your relationship with your daughter has teetered into “friend” territory, it’s never too late to take back control.

  • Look to female friends and relatives who’ve done a good job raising their daughters for advice, and allow them to mentor you.
  • Have an honest conversation with your daughter to let her know you’re not comfortable being her “friend” anymore and why.
  • Ask what she needs—not wants—from you as a mother.

You may not be your daughter’s BFF, but the relationship could be more rewarding for it.

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