Should Mothers and Daughters be BFF's? - NO!

Me and My Mom

The has been much said in the media lately about mothers and daughters being BFF's. Articles and blog posts boasting about how moms and daughters share everything together, have no boundaries and are Best Friends Forever. Boasting like it is what we should all be striving for with our girls. 

Given that my husband and I have three girls (with one on the way :), this subject is personal to me, and I couldn't disagree more with the "we should be BFF mentality." Not to mention, I have read enough and studied enough to know that this is not the type of relationship we should be trying to develop with our girls. 

 Might I offer an alternative to the BFF mentality?

Instead of worrying about and striving to be their Best Friend, we need to be worrying and striving to be their BEST PARENT

The amazing thing is that by being their Best Mother, we will actually develop a friendship along the way. Yes, a friendship will be the natural byproduct of our energy and effort to be the best parent to our girls that we can be.  

So how can we do that? What can we do to create a strong relationship with our daughters? 

We need to put our love into action.

What does that mean to put our love into action?

Set Boundaries
There needs to be rules and consequences. We also need boundaries concerning what we share with our daughters. We can tell them too much, and that is not good. They do not have the emotional capacity to handle adult problems. Boundaries put us in charge. It doesn’t mean our daughters don’t have a say or can’t express an opinion. But it does mean we are still the parents who are in charge. And remember, boundaries build respect for one another also. 

Always Encourage, Encourage, Encourage
There is an old analogy that has been floating around for years, that our children are like plants. Plants are programmed to grow and blossom and bloom. When the leaves start to wilt, we give the plant more water, light and fertilizer. We wouldn’t think to yell at, or criticize our plants to help them grow. It wouldn’t work.
It is the same with our daughters (and sons). Criticism and negative comments are not going to help them grow. They need our encouragement to see themselves as great people who are capable of great things. They need to know that we are on their side. If we are constantly criticizing, correcting and point out all that they do wrong, they won’t feel good about themselves, they won’t grow. We should always be their biggest fan and their ally. Even when they make wrong choices. 

Make time together a priority.
If we want a strong relationship with our daughters we have to spend time with them. We can’t expect to spend time once a year, and have them automatically open up to us. We need quantity and quality. In fact, we might even need the quantity first. 
Think about a relationship with your spouse. If the two of you only spend time together once a year, or even once a month, you wouldn't feel comfortable opening up and sharing your feelings or thoughts with them. It is the same with our daughters. We need to spend time together regularly so that we have a relationship established that makes our daughters feel comfortable opening up. We have to make time together a regular priority. 
Listen for better communication
Do we listen to the silly stories about what happened on the playground? If our kids don’t feel like we will listen to the little things then why would they ever open up to tell us about the big things. They won’t. We have to give them our attention and respect and listen when they talk. Not listening means we miss an opportunity to learn more about our daughters AND it means that our daughters will stop talking to us.

Build Trust
Trust is build every single day through our interactions. Without that trust, we don’t have strong healthy relationships. We earn our children’s trust by following through with our word, not breaking a confidence and being there to pick them up on time. Remember that strong relationships are built on every single interaction we have with our daughters. Running errands together, doing their hair, working around the house together, everything. It doesn’t have to be monumental interactions.

Do things together
What is your daughter interested in? What does she like to do? Can you find things you like to do together? Do those things together! Doing things together breaks down barriers and puts us on common ground. It allows us to communicate with one another, build memories, and helps us realize that we are more alike then we might think. This is especially helpful during the teenage years.

Going along with this, we need to care about what our daughters care about. For example, our oldest daughter loves American Girl Dolls. I didn’t grow up playing with them, and don’t really care about them too much. But she does, so now I do! I look through the magazines and research all about them so I can support her conversations and participate in playing with them together.

Time to let go of the mentality that we need to be BFF's with our daughters. That should not be our goal. Strive to be the Best Parent and we will naturally be friends with our girls too! We will develop the type of relationship that lasts through the years.

Do you think mothers and daughters should be BFF's?


  1. Great post! I agree, you shouldn't really be best friends with your mom. I am the youngest of 6 and by the time I was a teenager there was very little parenting going on. My dad believed in the "teach them correct principles and let them govern themselves" and my mom was just so tired. I think we all got lucky that I was a good kid and didn't make bad choices, because I don't think they would have had any idea if I was doing bad things. The long term consequence is that I kind of resent their parenting advice at this stage because really, what do they know? But they raised 6 good kids, they obviously know something--I just have a hard time accepting it I guess. They are great people and they were good parents but a little guidance would have gone a long way.

  2. I loved this post!!! As a mom to three girls it is a great reminder and helps me continue raising them the way I feel is best their mom! Thank you so much for sharing! And super exciting news!!! So happy for you!

  3. Totally agree! The friendship part comes when she is a Mum and trust me, it's worth the wait :)

  4. Finally, some common sense! Thank you!! :)

  5. Thank you. I totally agree. As the mother of 4 daughters (28, 25, 22, and 14) I have always believed our energy and love should be put into being their parent. The connection that can develop by doing this correctly will develop these relationships into one of deep unconditional love. My husband and I have observed the mother-daughter 'BFF' syndrome (even father-son in some cases) over the years with other families and have often seen sad results in those relationships. By the way, my 3rd daughter Caitlyn took a family recreation class from you a few years ago and absolutely loved it. Congratulations on your soon-to-arrive daughter. Hooray for girls! (I so enjoy your blog.)

  6. I saw you when you discussed this on Studio Five and I was in my front room saying, 'Yes! Yes!'
    Sadie and I have a good relationship, but I am in no way her BFF. She knows she can come to me when needed and we do enjoy doing things together. (Downton Abby is our new obsession!) I love it when she comes in my room and lays next to me on the bed (she's 17, so it's a bit different than it used to be). But, I also love that she has her friends to go hang out with and to talk to about the friends stuff.

  7. Yes! I don't have children yet but I totally agree with this. I think you can be BFFs once your daughter is a full grown adult. But not during the parenting years or when your child is still under your roof. One of my best friends has a sister 10 years younger. Her mom took the friend approach with the sister when she was a teenager and it was a disaster. Now that she is about 20 they are finally starting to have healthy boundaries as mother and daughter. #SITSblogging

  8. I don't think you should ever strive to be best friends with your children. I can't imagine any child that would respect a parent who is their BFF, can you imagine what the teenage years would be like? I agree with the best parent approach. Stopping by from SITS girls

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