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Mother or Best Friend? You Can't Always Be Both

Mother or Best Friend? You Can't Always Be Both

Dear Sugar,

My sixteen year old daughter and I don't know how to communicate with each other and I need help. I have no idea how to talk to her anymore and am struggling as I want to be a supportive loving mother. I see that she is trying to find herself and seems confused so how can I guide her without being overbearing? How can you be a friend when you must be a parent first? Overprotective Olivia

To see DEARSUGAR's answer

Dear Overprotective Olivia,

This is a great question that many mothers struggle with. To be both a friend and a parent seems ideal in many mother's eyes, but most of the time it's not the best idea. Your main role needs to be the parent if you want to maintain authority in the relationship. As much as children rebel and fight back, the authoritative parental figure that disciplines and teaches them right from wrong gives kids a sense of security they find comforting.

Building trust with your daughter and reassuring her of your unconditional love is key to developing the close-knit relationship you are looking for. Set guidelines and parameters for your daughter to live by since her teenage years can be a trying time. Let her friends be her best friends for right now. When your daughter is much older, you will have established the foundation of mother/daughter and you won't have to be just a mother, but a friend as well.

Join The Conversation
lickety-split lickety-split 10 years
your job is to raise a happy, responsible, contributing member of society. if you prepare her for life she will always be grateful and you will have her respect. i don't think it's appropriate for parents to be friends with their teens. that suggests equal standing, when you are the authority figure. it's your job to make unpopular decisions that include saying no and not supporting decisions that you disagree with. friendship will come (or not) later, when she is an adult. right now she need guidance and limits. i would suggest counseling to get the talking started. your time is running out, so you might as well cut to the chase.
MandyJoBo MandyJoBo 10 years
You can be her friend when you don't have anything left to teach, except what she wants to learn.
ngl1 ngl1 10 years
A great way to start a conversation is to tell her stories from when you were her age. Tell her funny stories about ways you tried to get your crush to notice you and things that happened to you when you were sixteen. She may or may not reciprocate, but it may make her more comfortable telling you things about her life that she may not have before. If she hears a story that strikes close to home for her, she might ask for your advice in the situation. That way, you can be a friend and a parent at the same time.
t0xxic t0xxic 10 years
Theres a fine line that is ok with being her friend. But its hard to find that and really its not worth trying bc most moms cant do it and not become one of those moms that let to much happen. HOWEVER no dont go thru her things unless she gives you reason to and then you need to do with with her around. Believe it or not she does need some privacy. Parents who do what is mentioned above drive there kids further away ------ Jan 23rd 1:08 Am Weighing 7lbs and 7 oz and 19 inches tall!! Welcome to the world Nicky!
cgmaetc cgmaetc 10 years
Sorry, I say read the dang diary, check the emails, and monitor the phone. It's when parents DON'T do their homework that you hear about some 12 year old girl running off to Europe with some pervert she met on myspace. In my parents house, there was no such thing as privacy rights. No closed doors unless changing clothes, no private phone lines, no boys in the house without a parent home and definitely no boys in my room , ever! Yeah, at 16 I hated it, but here at 31, I realize they only wanted me to grow up safe. -the ceeg
grl-in-the-world grl-in-the-world 10 years
Try not to meddle too much (reading her email, diary, etc...Not cool!) my mom was such a snoop she even listened in on my phone conversations when I was a teenager. If you are non-judgemental and fair, she will let you know if she needs to talk about something important,otherwise, I agree with everyone else that you shouldn't be trying to be her best friend. If that's meant to happen it will be gradual, and down the road many years. If she seems upset about something particular you can always say "honey, you know I'm always here for you if you need to talk".
cubadog cubadog 10 years
I'm with you Marci those parents are the most annoying.
Marci Marci 10 years
Oh, I also forgot to mention that in my own opinion, there's nothing more pathetic than those parents who try too hard to be friend with their kids friends and be the COOL parents. Puhlease.
Marci Marci 10 years
I don't think a 16 year old wants or need a friend in her mother. If you mother well, you and she have laid the groundwork for a close friendship later on. When my mother died, she was truly my best friend. But in my teens? There were times I simply couldn't stand her.
rubialala rubialala 10 years
When your kids are younger, you need to be their mom no matter how hard it might be. After she gets older (mid-20s?) and is responsible for herself and her own actions, then you can be her friend, and if you have been a good mother, she will want you as her friend.
tra tra 10 years
My mom was a mother until I got she's my best friend. When I got married, she told me she'd always be my mom but now our relationship is changing...we are both married women. We enjoy spending time together and talk even if only for 5 minutes everyday. I'm glad she was a mom and didn't try to be a friend sooner.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 10 years
I'm glad everyone is saying "be a mother, not a friend!" I couldn't agree more! Also, my mom let me make my own mistakes. I'm sure it was hard for her, but you have to learn things on your own sometimes. Good luck!
Deba Deba 10 years
She doenst need a friend, she probably has a lot friends. She needs a mom that understands her. Sometimes its really important to negociate that way you dont feel like struggling. My mom always negociated with me.... I can say that works
Daisy6264 Daisy6264 10 years
Good luck. My Mom is one of my best friends.
SaRaH-22 SaRaH-22 10 years
My mom always tried to be my friend not my mom...and yea at times it was cool because i was allowed to do a lot more things but what i needed most was a mom...and i had to turn to my grandma for that kind of guidence because my mom just wasnt there for that, and now that im older my grandma and I are a lot closer than me and my mom and i think that those actions are a lot of the reason why! ~* solves everything!~*~
cubadog cubadog 10 years
Your not her friend your her mother so do not try to play both sides. Your there to maintain structure and discipline so she can become a great person. She is 16 years old she has her whole life to find herself. Part of that is letting her make mistakes and allowing her to learn from them.
boxem180 boxem180 10 years
don't try and become her friend because it's so much harder on both her and you when you do need to lay down the law. my mother tried to be my friend in high school, it backfired whenever she tried to punish me (so she then tried to get my dad to punish me, ya know - good cop, bad cop and that created even more issues). right now, your daughter needs structure and trust me, when she grows up, you'll be more than mother/daughter then.
nicachica nicachica 10 years
please, please PLEASE don't try and be her friend. Be her mother and enforce the rules. I'm so happy my mom didn't try and go the 'friends' route because she provided a stable force and guidance in my life when i needed it most. She gave me ground rules to live by (be home by 11 pm for parties, no boys in my room EVER or have them over when i was alone in the house, no drinking/drugs, etc.). While i may not have followed everything to the T, I knew that even if i fell, she would be there to love and support me and make sure i took responsibility for my actions. She took a lot of flack from me about some of her rules, but i'm really glad she didn't cave into my pressure (which she told me later was really, really hard because i was a good kid). She progressively gave me certain freedoms and it made me value our relationship even more, though i didn't realize it at the time. Be strong, she will thank you in the end! (i'm only 24 btw so it really wasn't that long ago that i was a teen!)
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