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All relationships are built on the solid foundation of unconditional love; so also in the case of the relationship between a mother and her child. But can this "natural" relationship merge with friendship? Can a mother also be a best friend at the same time?
To be honest, I doubt if all of us mothers can do it. Yes, we can indeed try -—but it all entirely depends on several factors like the age difference, the mother's parenting style and most especially, how much each is willing to compromise to make this dual role worth pursuing.
Indeed, mothers play a dynamic role in the lives of their children. They can yield the greatest influence on their child with multiple caring ways. They can teach ethical values and life skills, encourage, inspire and motivate. But can a mother successfully achieve all the above and simultaneously be her child's best friend?
In the real world today, a best friend is perhaps someone whom you confide in, want to hang out with and share your secrets with. And certainly someone [who unquestionably] can accept your ways- - -your choice of clothes, your hairdo, your interests, hobbies and why you think, "Johnny is the handsomest guy in town!"
On the other hand, a doting mother could think and react differently; she may not find Johnny compatible with her daughter. She could harbor the view that her darling daughter would be more compatible with Tommy- - - for one thing, he does not sport long hair, inclined to use drugs, has his body parts pierced! In such a scenario,what can this mother do? Should her motherly insticts take precedence, be strongly assertive and firmly insist that her daughter stays away from Johnny?
Well, here are 5 guidelines to help mothers maintain a balance when faced with a similar dilemna:
1-Keep in mind
Your child is your responsibility and you should have her/his interests at heart. While trying to be a friend, your top-most priority requires you to be a mother first. Set a good example to your child and be self-disciplined yourself. Insist that your child helps you in the daily chores around the house and is able to function independently. Your job is definitely not to please! So, emphatically put your foot down if you find your child going astray.
2 -Be supportive
As a mother, you need to be supportive of the choices your child makes. However, this simply does not imply to every whim and fancy of your child. It would certainly be your duty to make sure that the choices your child make, could lead to harmful repurcussions. Never encourage or condone bad behavior in the garb of friendship. Mothers who have taken the time to teach their children to differentiate between what's right or wrong, would find no difficulty in maintaining the right balance between the role of motherhood and friendship.
Responsibility is of critical importance to enable children to handle life's challenges independently as adults. In your attempt to be your child's best friend, do not run to your child's aid each time she/he makes a mistake or habitually endangers herself. As a mother your primary role is to guide her; it is most certainly not to bear the brunt of her/his follies. Allow your child to accept the consequences and learn from the mistakes made.
Effective communication with your child is the key to building a successful life-long relationship. Let your child know that you are ready to listen, discuss and share your views; but finally the decisions would have to be hers/his. It is important to give your child the space and freedom to interact freely with friends of her/his age group. A wise mother does not have to prove anything; she need not take charge, hover around or interfere when her child is with friends.
Plan and arrange to spend more time with your child. Do fun things together with your child. Find creative ways to be a friend to her/him; make sure you both enjoy each other’s company; do fun things together like going on a picnic, movie, shopping or travelling to a week-end get-away. If your child's interest lies in sports or music or skiing, it would be nice to have you participate in those activities too! Go along with the natural flow; but avoid being hypocritical just to please and gratify your child.
Mothers can indeed yield a powerful imprint on their children's lives. They can be a source of strength and support, they can be their companion and confidante; they can enjoy many cherished moments in time together. No doubt there is bound to be a generation gap; there will be periods of trials and tribulations. But if despite all odds you have maintained a fine balance and successfully managed to be a mother and your child’s best friend, my hats off to you.
Believe that your child is sure lucky to have you. Give yourself a pat on the back- - -you sure deserve it. KUDOS!