Can A Mother And Daughter Be Best Friends
While sitting at a kid’s party I casually threw a question out among my friends, “Do you consider yourself a friend to your child/children?” Interestingly enough, I didn’t get back any very conclusive responses. Even those who said they were a friend to their child still had a question on their faces. Are we? they seemed to say. Even harder to answer, Can a mother and daughter (with so much inevitable tension) still be friends? Best friends, even?
Mother and Daughter: The challenge!
If we think it over objectively, is it really possible? With such a big difference in the ages of the child and the mother, how can a mother and daughter be friends? The thought processes between the two varies, the situations they experience every day vary, and when you consider the advancement in today’s technology it becomes challenging enough just to keep up with the child’s awareness and expectations—much less befriend them.
Making things worse, the emotional requirements of our daughters is so different during the teenage years that it makes it seem like we (as their mother) simply can’t fill the space of a friend. There is an old Chinese proverb that states “One Generation plants the trees; another gets the shade,” and this is how it often is between mother and daughter. You’re always thinking of nice things you could do for her or little things that would make her life easier. Sometimes, if anything, it seems like more of a one-way relationship. “Best friend” still has miles to go!
As possibly even further proof, while being in my daughter’s group, I notice how these so-called “mother and daughter friends” keep fighting. I see poor mother’s complaining “Oh! What do I do to convince her that I understand?” while the child keeps struggling and saying, “Ugh! You’ll never understand!”
Mother and Daughter: What I discovered
For me, it seems, the best mother and daughter relationships aren’t those that are styled after the “best friends” idea. There were a few reasons for this that I dug up in my research.
The basic rule of any friendship is “No secrets among friends.” This just doesn’t work for a mother and daughter. For one, whatever a mom does or tries she can never disclose all her secrets to her child. This isn’t even about opening up her most hidden, deep dark secrets. Challenges like paying the bills, or a mother’s fears about her job or relationship, for example would put an undue amount of stress on a kid, and that’s just not fair Frankly, it’s not friend behavior. Let a child be a child.
Also every relationship we have, has its own value, respect and place in life. In the same way that our husband can’t simply replace our best friend, similarly a mother can’t replace her child’s friends. They have a shared experience that a mother will not be a part of.
For you, the same may be true. Perhaps your friends have their own special place in your life where your child has a different priority and place. This has certainly been true in my life. The love, care, trust, affection, frankness, patience and independence, I share within each relationship is different from one to another.
That means I have to use a special set of guidelines for my relationship with my daughter.
- I would rather be a companion or a big strong wall on which my child can always depend.
- I can be a strong force behind my child even when her friends betray her.
- I would rather laugh with her about the funny mistakes she made when she still came out as a warrior.
- I would prefer to silently watch her smiling while she is laughing with her friends and pray that she will always keeping enjoying the life.
Her laughs and jokes are different with me than with her friends. So let her enjoy those simple silly moments with her friends. This is more of the “let a kid be a kid” advice, but this time I would add, kids need structure. A parent can give that. A friend cannot. I am her mother and this is my job.
The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new. ~Osho (Tweet this)
I can be a guide, a mentor, a support, a companion, and yes, a mother… but a friend, well… I still have my doubts. Nonetheless I am proud to be her mother because she has the assurance that her mother is always behind her. She can’t say the same thing (with complete conviction) about her friends. I will let my daughter take up her own challenges and come to me when she needs guidance.
I will allow her to be independent in her decisions and take the ownership of the results. I would prefer to patiently enjoy her stories of success and failure and feel proud that I have helped her to become a fighter and not survivor.
Let her friends be special to her and her mother be equally special. As none of us can replace each other’s place. A daughter is the happy memories of the past, the joyful moments of the present, and the hope and promise of the future. Mothers and daughters are even closer, when daughters themselves become mothers… but to get to that point, they need a mother to guide them more than they need a friend beside them.
These are my thoughts.
So now I put this question to all you mothers, out there. What do YOU think? “Can a mother and daughter be friends“?