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I'm Honored to Be My Daughter's Best Friend

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Kate Meyers: How do you know if you're being too much "friend" and not enough "mom"? My 12-year-old helped me figure it out.


I feel like I've read many articles and heard myriad experts discuss how important it is to be your child's parent and not their friend. Thankfully, while I was having a long-distance conversation with my friend Kelli, a mom of 10-year-old twin girls, she totally rejected that idea. Times have changed and relationships have changed, she said. "Who better to be your daughter's best friend than you?" she wanted to know. "You should be the person they want to talk to when they have questions, or need advice or get into trouble -- the absolute go-to person in their world."

My girls listen to me when I'm in "mom" mode -- "Clean your room, do your homework, don't maul your sister" -- but they also enjoy our friendship. It's rare that a dinner goes by without uncontrollable laughter. We often dance in the living room, and they're my favorite date on a Saturday night. Yet although Kelli gave me permission, I still worried if I was doing right by them.

As if to answer my mental grappling, my 12-year-old (who's definitely the wisest person I know) wrote the following on my homemade Mother's Day card: "Whenever a girl comes up and asks me, 'Who is your best friend?' I always say it's my mom. And even though Dad tells you to be my mom and not my 'best friend,' you really are both. You always give great advice and homework help and you're there to comfort me and drive me to my activities. And when I need a girl's night, you're there for that, too. Because you are that AMAZING!" I write this with a melted heart.

I also rest my case.

next: 10 Things Never to Say to a Woman Trying to Conceive
32 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous May 14, 2010, 7:10 AM

My mom tried to do the “best friend thing” and now I can’t stand her. Friends don’t love unconditionally like moms. Right now she’s only 12 and probably enjoys the friendship. Let’s see how it goes at 15/16 when she wants to be with friends her same age. Just be careful and make sure that you still maintain other adult friendships and don’t rely on your daughters to play that role.

Mom of 14 year old May 14, 2010, 8:04 AM

Hey I think its great if you can be friends with your daughter as long as you keep the mom role too. My daughter and I are very close and she confides in me alot of things. I am not naive I know she does not tell me everything, but she knows that she can come to me for answers to those tricky questions and for comfort when she is down. She knows I love her unconditionally and she is not afraid to ask for help. I don’t think she would tell her friends that I am her best friend, but I think she knows I will be the one who is there for her in the end. That is what is most improtant.

Jessi Arias-Cooper May 14, 2010, 9:32 AM

I love this post. I truly believe that there can be a healthy balance between mom and friend and that if you are invested in your children, you can definitely have both. Good on you and your daughter for finding the beauty in all the facets of your relationship.

Jenni May 14, 2010, 9:45 AM

I am 25 years old and my whole life my mom has been my best friend. She did exactly what you are talking about and was a mom and best friend. She was able to play both sides and even as a teen I would tell her mom I am coming as a best friend right now and she always respected that and gave me advice. It sounds to me like you are doing a great job with your girls and there is nothing wrong with being a best friend and a mom at the same time! My mom was also like a best friend to even my friends, they always went to her for advice and comfort. I fully believe it is possible because I have am living that live. My mom is still my best friend and I am not now and have never been ashamed to admit it :)

Anonymous May 14, 2010, 9:55 AM

My mother and I have a horrible relationship because she tried the “best friend” thing. I think later in life you can development a friendship with your daughter. It’s too much pressure to put on her as a child. Plus, she should really develop strong ties with peers, not just her mom. And mom should have tight ties with women her age as well.

Katie's Mom May 17, 2010, 9:47 AM

I’m glad you have a close relationship with your daughters. It sounds like you are doing a great job as a parent. However, I have to disagree with you because I think you are missing an important point: A best friend relationship is a 2-way street. How many people who claim to be their child’s “best friend” would go to the child for advice on personal issues? I’m willing to bet not many. That’s where it becomes obvious that your role is to be a parent - a wonderful, nurturing, sharer of fun and dispenser of good advice - but not a best-friend. It is not fair on a child or teenager to share the level of information with them that you would share with an adult best friend.
Maybe when they are adults your relationship will mature into a real friendship - but for now, however close your relationship, you are not your children’s best friend - not if you are a responsible parent.

Leah May 17, 2010, 10:20 AM

Well Said Katie’s Mom!! My mother shared FAR too much personal information with me and really considered me her best friend - too much pressure and now we don’t get along at all and she’s so sad about it but I feel like she stole my teenage years and she wasn’t my rock but I was hers.

Gail July 16, 2010, 11:23 PM

I loved this story and you are doing a great job with your daughter. She is 12 and already you have built a relationship where your daughter feels she can come to you. Its perfectly ok for your daughter to say you are her BF, its her age. In reality she is telling you in her way how much she respects your opinon and admires you. So if using the term BF is what she is using then great! I have two daughters 20 and 23 and we have an amazing relationship. We love being together and laugh a lot. We talk about everything, I do realize they have things they only talk to their girlfriends about but that is okay because I have friends that I share things I wouldnt with my daughters. My daughters come to me with the big things, the decison making things and I like that. I can guide them and explain things they might not see. I feel so blessed with my relationship with my daughters and I can honestly say raising them has been the best experience of my life. So I think you have begun a great relationship with your daughter and I loved your story and her card to you.

Leslie December 9, 2010, 2:34 PM

Counselors, life partners and husbands are for telling personal information. Friends and relatives are not there to hear your personal information. If you tell your friends or relatives something that you wouldn’t tell your counselor or husband then there’s something wrong with your marriage, not your mother/daughter relationship.

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