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Is Being Friends With Mom a Bad Idea?

Relationships between mothers and their children have always been complicated, but according to an article in Reuters yesterday, the growing number of moms who want to be best friends with their children is only making things worse. The article quotes Stephen Poulter, a clinical psychologist focusing on family relationships, saying:

I need the parents to recognize that they are not their child's friend and get their kids' respect and then the kids can separate from their mother and move forward in their life and not feel they are responsible for their mother.

I'm no expert in this subject, so although I do agree that a mother/child relationship in which the mother is dependent on her child for friendship is likely to lead to emotional issues, I do think creating a friendship with your mom as an adult can be a good thing. Does your own experience echo the expert's opinion? Is being friends with your mom a bad idea?


Join The Conversation
miss-jaxx miss-jaxx 9 years
my mom has always said she is a parent first, and then my friend. she's my best friend, but also has never let me get away with anything which is how it should be.
Tyanna Tyanna 9 years
I didnt know that having a mother required duties from her as if she has a job with benefits. Me and my mom are best friends. We both are one in the same. Some of the downsides for me i take it personal when she gives me constructive criticism as oppose to outside aquaitances. I go far and beyond for my mother and get her whatever she wants not because she is my mother but i love my mother unconditionally. I do not give my friends the same respect i give her....thats me. For some that feel you choose not to be friends later in life with your parents stems from the relationship you have with them. You either dont respect them or they just dont understand you...Some of you others that do manage to have a healthy relationship with your mother you will find the same in return.
RustyAngel73 RustyAngel73 9 years
My mother is a friend too, but not my best friend. We have a good balance.
DCStar DCStar 9 years
The right time to be "friends" with your mother is when you get to be 21+ and you need adult advice. Until then, your mother should be responsible for you, give you boundaries, etc.
linds1019 linds1019 9 years
My mom is my best friend and has been for years. Boundaries aren't crossed, b/c she has always said she is a mom first. I feel sorry for people that can't be close to their mothers. My MIL and husband don't have a relationship, b/c she's always preoccupied w/her company and her other daughter (whom she treats like a god). It's really sad. It makes me very thankful to have such a great mom.
emalove emalove 9 years
There has to be a balance between being a parent and being a mom was able to do this and we've always been very, very close.
omlove omlove 9 years
I and my mom are best friends ....and I love it. And no ..she never ignores her responsibilities as a mother. We talk about everything and have no secrets. We've always been like that.
kia kia 9 years
My mom tried this friend thing with me and it was like there were no boundaries and I just ended up finding her crazy for it. I'll be friendly with my children but will not want them to lose sight that I am their mother.
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 9 years
You definitely can be both. You can be a close friend with your child but also discipline them when needed. You don't have to pick one or the other you just have to approach things differently.
Bearwoman Bearwoman 9 years
My mom told me today that she thought she might have an STD because she hasn't been careful with her recent sex partnerS. I am taking therapy because I am co-dependent. You do the math.
laneylaney laneylaney 9 years
My mom and I are ridiculously close and it can be problematic. She is VERY dependent on me. It causes a lot of problems because she'll often get very emotional and angry if I can't hang out with her or something. It can lead to very irrational behavior. Some days I feel so lucky to have such a close relationship with her and others it can be very hard.
bingkaycoy bingkaycoy 9 years
Having worked with children for 3 years in several families with parents treating their kids like their friends, I don't believe that this "relationship" is going to work out good. It is actually can become the worst relationship. As I have observed these children, because they think their parents/moms are their best friends, they do not respect their mom's decisions or authorities in such a young age. They always try to compromise with their parents' rules or decisions or worse, want to get their way out. If they want to get what they want, they end up frustrating their moms because their moms feel uncontrollable about the situations because they think they have to prove to their children they are their friends. Because of their maturity, their experience and wisdom larger and greater than their children, they should be the ones to exert authority of what is "right or wrong" or "what is acceptable or not" to their kids and not let the kids think they can get around with you by compromising because you have to prove to them that you are also their friends. The parents I worked with end up unhappy and having no control over their kids' behavior. It's really appalling to see children yelling at their mothers and talking to their moms like they can twist their mothers' arms just because they know their mothers want them to be their friends. That is why "a mother is a mother" and "not your friend" because ought to be treated like a mother.
TidalWave TidalWave 9 years
A mother who is more of a "friend" than a "mother" to her child, doesn't care about her child at all.
rpenner rpenner 9 years
I think that developing a friendship with your mother once you've reached adulthood is a very good thing. But there are still obviously boundries. She is a mother first. But I do not think a mother should never aim to be her child's(ren) friend while they are growing up. Those are formative years that require a mother, not a friend.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 9 years
My mom never tried to be anything other than my mother. Thank god. One of my friends had a mom like that and it was so embarrassing. But now, I adore my mom and we can talk about anything. But I should say, I can talk about anything to her. She either has no problems, or doesn't bring me into them.
jaxon jaxon 9 years
I think a child should consider her mother her best friend but a mother should not consider their child their best friend. Although I am striving for my daughter and I to have a "Gilmore Girl-Esque" relationship
jillerin457 jillerin457 9 years
Children need rules, boundaries, and guidance, which they should be able to get from their parents! I agree that the friend part comes later. My mom and I do pretty well with that, and I am very thankful that she made being my parent a priority over trying to be my "friend." I wouldn't have respected her if she had done that.
jenni-lynn jenni-lynn 9 years
I am the mother of four boys, three of which are teenagers. I feel like our relationship has grown from that of caretaker to friend at this point, however my boys know the line. They feel lke they can tell me almost anything, and do when I ask. (men you know - "Don't ask don't tell") I love the age they are right now, they are beginning to experience first love, first car, graduation and all the mess that comes with it. I'm glad they feel we have a friendship but they also know that they have boundaries and I will enforce them. That's what makes kids feel safe and secure.
millarci millarci 9 years
I completely agree with Elizabeth. You have to know your boundaries. I love my mother and she is my confidant. BUT she is also a mother and sometimes I forget that. She deserves the upmost respect from me and my siblings.
cvandoorn cvandoorn 9 years
My mom always used to tell me: I'm your mom, not your friend. It kind of hurt. But you know what, I realized that I like it that way. I have friends whose moms go out partying with that's just weird. Would never want that with my mom.
laellavita laellavita 9 years
I think a balance definitely comes into play. My mom is one of my best friends, and we value the fact that I feel comfortable enough to tell her just about everything. It is strange though, sometimes, when she crosses the line and talks to me about something that I just don't want to hear - I'm immediately like, "Moooooooommmm!" Her insight often helps out though, and it's comforting to know that the whole 'been there, done that' thing really is true.
Sampson60 Sampson60 9 years
I've never really thought about this before but my mom seemed to always know what stage I was in. When I was in middle school I went through a really hard time with some friends who I was beginning to recognize were bullies. My mom and I would have long conversations about why they were acting this way, what I should do about it etc. During this time she was very sensitive to the fact that I was vulnerable. She was careful not to treat me as an adult who could handle blunt observations but she gave advice that fit my age.. When I was in high school I was rebellious and we had a very different relationship. She knew that this was a time where I would question authority and so she set boundaries that I needed. She didn't hesitate to inform me about certain issues that she knew I would encounter and I look back now and see how much I actually knew at that time because of it. Those weren't easy years, but as I have gotten older our relationship has evolved and changed. I think it is important for parents to grow with their children. Of course my father will always see me as newborn that peed in his pocket in the hospital:)
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
Moms are not supposed to treat you like an equal, while you are young, when you get older the dynamic changes of course and you find a happy medium. My mom crossed the line only once when my parents were getting a divorce and I no longer was the daughter, I was the box she dumped all her problems into regarding my dad and it messed me up for awhile. I know coworkers who have daughters, and they act like they are the same age, its sickening.
Random2 Random2 9 years
I think my Mom and I have become friends as I've gotten older. She was always there for me as a parent when I was younger, but now our relationship is more friend-ship based. She's still my Mom, and that's still clear, but I think it's important to have at least some elements of a friendship.
Shopaholichunny Shopaholichunny 9 years
Agree w/ the ladies above. Just look at Dinah and Lindsay Lohan. :OY:
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