Are You a Best-Friend Mom?

3194359887_c650154685Most moms I know try to picture their daughters as teenagers.  But have you ever tried to picture yourself when your daughters are teenagers?  What kind of mom do you think you’ll be?  Supportive?  Permissive?  A best friend?

A new article at Forbes asks moms to take a closer look at their parenting style to see if they’ve crossed the line from authority figure to sister figure.

Take Dina and Lindsay Lohan, for example.  The have the same clothes, the same hair, and the same social life.  And while it may give moms a false sense of security to know they’re their daughters’ closest confidant, some experts think that “best friend moms” leave their daughters without an authority figure.

“If you act like a pal, your kids don’t know who to trust,” family therapist Kathy Nickerson tells Forbes.  “They want to know that you are the parent and are there to protect them.”

The experts and parents who talked to Forbes say that they believe there are a few reasons for this trend:

  • Parents are more affectionate than ever and less likely to discipline.
  • More kids go to college, giving young adults and “extended adolescence.”
  • an increasing emphasis on celebrity culture
  • Moms are stressed, and this is the “easy” way out.

Out to dinner last weekend, my husband and I saw four high school kids sitting at a table, dressed to the nines for homecoming.  In a fifth seat sat one of the girls’ mothers, also dressed in a cocktail gown.  The kids were young enough to need a ride, but … come on.  Run some errands or at least get your own table.

I think that extreme “best friend” moms simply lack confidence.  They want their daughters’ approval, but are afraid that the old way of getting respect — giving support and setting boundaries — will make them the bad guy.

My hope is that when my girls are older, we’ll share a relationship like the one I share with my own mom:  Supportive, close, and loving  — but they’ll never have to worry about me dressing up to double date with them.

What about you?  Do you think being a “best friend mom” is a problem?

Photo: centralasian, Flickr

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