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Avoid the Temptation to be Your Teen’s Best Friend

Every mother wants to be loved and appreciated by her daughter. This is especially true for our teenage girls. We all want our daughters to forever look at us the way they did when they were 5 years old…when they trusted everything we told them, didn’t question our judgement, and when they actually thought we were super heroes. Something happens the moment they turn 13. Suddenly we aren’t so smart…instead, they think they are. We aren’t so cool, and we definitely aren’t their best buddy. As parents, this hurts us to our core because we want our children to love us, regardless as to how goofy we tend to look in their eyes. This can be a problem if we do not control how far we tend to go just to maintain a close relationship with our teen daughters. We want to be their best friends again, but just how far are we willing to go just to ensure we are the apple in their eyes, once again?

You’re my best friend

A best friend is someone you can trust to tell all of your secrets, who laughs at your jokes, and someone who wants to hang around you most of the time. This is something most mothers wish for with their teen girls but just can’t seem to get it together when it comes to working out the kinks. There might be a reason for that—something like you were never meant to be their best friend in the first place. Being a parent is a life-long duty that we can’t take for granted. Sometimes, we have to be the bad guy, and that alone prevents us from being the ideal friend to a teenage girl. Just because our girls become teenagers and aren’t acting as if we are the perfect mothers doesn’t mean that we stop being parents just so that we can accommodate what they expect us to be. They would love for us to laugh when they tell us about something that they said to someone that we might find offensive. Our girls would also love tell us about the boy that they like in class, even though we might feel that they are way too young to think about boys or relationships. It’s too thin of a line for any mother to cross when she has to be the teacher of morals, self-respect, and self-discipline to her daughter. If you have to decide on being a mother who has a responsibility to prepare her daughter for the world, or being a best friend who ignores these responsibilities just to be accepted, then you will need to keep your love for her wellbeing in mind prior to leaning toward being her friend over being her mom.

Think about your boss for a second. If you and your boss were to become best friends, there would soon be a conflict of interest in the relationship. Your boss has to maintain a certain level of professionalism and they have to successfully complete the task of being your leader, trainer, and mentor. If this role is compromised, your ability to do the best job that you can will suffer because you won’t receive the best guidance. If your boss wants to be your friend, and allows this to overshadow their being your boss, they might not provide you with valuable critiques that you will need to become a better employee for fear of harming the friendship. Do you see the conflict? It’s truly no different with a relationship between a mother and her teen daughter. You have to maintain a level of respect from your daughter that can only happen when she values your guidance as her mother…not her friend.

You have the ability to be a mother and a friend to your daughter if you remember that you are her mother first. You can laugh with your daughter about things in which you both share a common interest, and you can talk with your daughter about things that are important to you both. Just remember to remain on the side of “effective parenting” when you are talking with her about important issues. Your daughter will always love and respect you. Just make sure that she continues to learn her values from a mother who is willing to forego friendship if it means she’ll raise a brilliant daughter who will grow to be a friend someday later.

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About Audra L.

Audra L. is an author, columnist and community activist who's dedicated to finding truth through research and effective communication. She received her degree in Public Policy and teaches Community Development, Public Speaking and Communications Law to youth throughout the nation. She is the recipient of over 23 awards and honors for her commitment to community outreach initiatives.

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