Parents As Best Friends: How Can Moms And Dads Be Buddies With Their Kids Without Losing Authority?

By Amanda Moore, Parent Herald May 02, 04:34 am
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Moms and dads who become their kids' best friends beginning middle school age establishes trust that allows the kids to open up to them. PICTURED: Luana Adams (L), and her daughter Hannah Adams, 12, go over a set of questions on good nutrition.
(Photo : John Moore/Getty Images)

Are parents who make it a point to be best friends with their kids better parents? Do children who treat their moms and dads as buddies still recognize authority?

Sometime around middle school, children begin to grow less attached to their parents. As their social circle widens, the kids' interaction with their moms or dads diminishes and their relationship dynamic changes.

For kids to treat parents as best friends at this age doesn't ideally happen. Moms and lawyers Jenni Stahlmann and Jody Hagaman, however, said it shouldn't be this way. In a piece on the Herald Tribune, both moms agreed middle school is actually the best time for parents to make their bond with kids stronger.

For these moms, forging a buddy relationship will help young kids develop a sense of identity and they will also get to know and trust their parents more. In fact, a middle schooler's relationship with her parents should be over and above her other circles.

Some parents, however, think being best friends with their children, especially during the middle school and high school age, strips moms and dads of their authority. They believe becoming best buds with the kids puts parents at a disadvantage, as per a previous Parent Herald report. How will kids listen and believe their parents when imposing rules if the latter are seen as equals?

Self-help expert Phillip Watt wrote via Elephant Journal that many parents and children make great friendship work in their relationship. They manage because the parents understand in the first few years of their children's life discipline is most important. At some point, however, a friendship must evolve so that their children learn they have family they can trust and feel secure.

Establishing trust and security are more important than authority when the children are entering the adolescent stage. It's in this stage when they need to confide in someone for some of the most important moments of their life. If they are best friends with their parents then they won't have any problems telling them their hopes, fears, dreams and secrets.

Do you agree with this, parents? Do you have preteens and teens in the house and do they open up to you like buddies? Talk to us in the comments!

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