Can you be a best friend and a mother to your child? I remember when I was a kid I went through that phase where I wasn’t happy with my parents. I didn’t really talk to them about anything that was really going on in my life or share my feelings. As time went by, I truly found a best friend in my mother. What a gift this was to me! We went to so many places together like shopping, to the movies and at home we watched TV together. How angry I was with myself for wasting so many years without treasuring her or sharing my life with her.

When I had my children, I promised myself that I would do everything possible to be not only a good mother, but also a better friend. My mother passed away at a young age by today’s standards and I was heartbroken to think of the time lost in my younger years. This would mark the path that I set out to follow and it would be for my children what my mother, who was my best friend, was for me.

To understand and follow this concept, of course, parenting must come first. There still has to be discipline and rules. This does not mean that you always say yes to your child when he asks you for something. This goes far beyond his usual daily family life. I have made an effort to truly listen to my children, yes this can be difficult at times, especially now that I have my teenage daughter saying things to me that must almost make my eyes pop out of my head. Ever since they were little, I made it a point to go into their rooms and talk to them about their day, not just about school work and what they were feeling at the moment. When I was told secrets, yes, I kept them for the most part, unless it was something that really needed to be shared.

Whenever I could, I made it a point to spend time alone with them outside the house. This could be a trip to the store or a meal, with just one of them so they had me all to themselves and could talk freely. For my teenage son, I go to his room and have what we call “Pow Wow’s” where he can ask me anything and I do my best to answer his questions honestly. Now his friends come and invite me into the living room to ask them questions that they are afraid to ask their own mothers. By earning my daughter’s trust, we would continue to grow closer and closer. She knew that I was someone she could go to and would not judge me, but would listen and really help with experienced advice. I also got to be the designated parent to do all the driving for them, sometimes at crazy hours I might add.

This is something I was lucky enough to start very early with my kids, this is not to say that it doesn’t work when they are older, as I am living proof that it does, having lost so many years of time with my mother as my best friend as well. Personally, I think maybe it would have happened before her if I had been more comfortable with her during those difficult teenage years. The years go by very quickly and there is no better time than today to make the effort, take the necessary steps and choose to be a part of your child’s life, instead of seeing it from outside her world. Of course, remember that you are still the father, but with trust, time, and love, you might as well be best friends with him.

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