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Being their mate

(18 Posts)
LightShinesInTheDarkness Thu 06-Aug-09 11:07:41

I am not sure whether this really applies just to teenagers, but I have a couple of friends who are really 'matey' with their teenagers.

I mean things like going round the shops with them and looking at all the 'young' clothes, getting quite involved with their friends (inc texting their boyfriends in a jokey way), buying them alcohol, listening to their music etc.

My DDs are not teenagers yet, but DD is getting to the stage where she is spreading her wings and getting a life of her own.

In my own mind, I can't work out where the mate/mum boundary is. I want to know what is going on in her life, but not sure that being her mate is the best/right way.

Don't think I have explained this terribly well, but does anyone get my gist?

random Thu 06-Aug-09 11:16:15

I get your gist ...I have aways been matey with my teenagers but they always knew I was their mum ... I don't think sharing an interest in their clothes or music is a bad thing and I'm quite sure they never told me everything!

I have 2. DS(16) DD(12)
I don't buy them alcohol. I feed, drive and make their friends welcome but would never text them unless in an emergency, shop with them now and then, listened to their music a lot. Encourage independence like cooking, traveling-they both use trains and buses on their own. I suppose it depends on the teen- mine like their privacy. Cooking, driving, family meals are the best chat times I find.

LightShinesInTheDarkness Thu 06-Aug-09 12:04:37

do you expect to be able to discuss anything/everything with them?

OhBling Thu 06-Aug-09 12:14:33

I feel strongly about this. I think families should have things they do together and enjoy together - shopping, cooking, music or whatever it is that you all like. It helps to keep you as a family unit, and frankly, if youdidn't have these things in common it would be a little strange as you do spend a lot of time together - in my family it's eating, books, certain tv programmes and movies and for certain members, exercise.

But... parents shouldn't be their children's friends. Or more importantly, parents shouldn't try to create a "friendship" with their children. In the ideal world, children and parents should be able to talk to each other and enjoy each other's company, of course, but friends, especially at that age, are not about boundaries and advice and wisdom (which I'd like to think parents are) but about fun, and testing those boundaries and sharing experiences with.

my mum tried to be friends with us. And it backfired horribly. It meant we didn't have a mum when we needed one and we spent way too much time supporting and helping her. I didn't want another friend, I wanted a mum.

sarah293 Thu 06-Aug-09 12:29:09

Message withdrawn

abouteve Thu 06-Aug-09 12:35:39

My DD is 15 and doesn't yet feel the need to go out pushing boundaries with her mates. I'm sure she will in an adult way when the time is right. i.e 18.

We are now like a couple of mates and that isn't something I planned, it just evolved. We've just been to our first festival together and I let her have a couple of drinks but she doesn't want to get drunk iyswim. We go on holiday just the two of us and it's the same as going with a friend. I've grown out of the wild times and she hasn't got there yet. grin

There are boundaries, I wouldn't talk about absolutely anything with her but she takes my advice with age appropriate talk. There are certain events that we both need our privacy on. I sometimes buy her clothes and try them on as we are the same size. Imagine a middle aged women in New Look etc, I always tell the shop assistants I'm shopping for my DD, they wish me luck but she loves what I buy her. Also friends with some of her friends on fb, but I don't try to be their friends they added me.

I will be pleased when she feels the need to branch out, in fact I used to worry that she wasn't doing so, a couple of years ago. I now realise that she is very mature and prefers mine and other adult company. When she does I know I will miss her.

random Thu 06-Aug-09 12:57:00

I don't think that they should tell you everything... but I do think its important that they feel they can discuss anything(even stuff you don't want to hear grin) with you.

mumeeee Thu 06-Aug-09 21:09:27

I have been round the shops with my teenagers and looked at clothes. I have also gone out for coffee with them. I might ask after their friends and always make their friends welcome when they come here. I have always let them know that I'm here for them if they want to talk to me. But I don't expect them to tell me everything.

GetOrfMoiLand Thu 06-Aug-09 21:15:07

I wouldn't expect my 13 year old dd to tell me everything. I would hope that she has close friends she could gossip about boys and things to.

I certainly wouldn't buy her alcohol. We are friends, and the lovely thing about being a mother to a teenager is the chatty, jokey times we have together. However I am her mum first and foremost, and I think that relationship is special and distincively different to that of a friend.

nappyaddict Thu 06-Aug-09 21:32:22

Everything in your OP sounds fine to me except for I find texting their boyfriend a bit weird.

abouteve Thu 06-Aug-09 22:29:28

I can see a difference in my relationship with my teen because I am a single mum and DD an only child, compared to other teens with two parents no/or siblings.

However, I do have my own life and she has hers but generally on the day to day stuff we are very involved with each other. Much better experience than I went through with the two parent/other sibling set up.

hayes Thu 06-Aug-09 22:35:11

we have tried to give our 15 year old a bit more freedom but it has recently backfired as he has taken it too far (underage drinking, staying out later than allowed, running up mobile phone bill) so we have gone back to rules and curfews. I don't enjoy this at all...i feel we have lost some of the friendship we did have and I know he is less likely to come to me with any problems he may have

abouteve Thu 06-Aug-09 22:47:20

tbh I think 15 is a little too young. I've seen the results of giving this age group too much rope.

I think another year or so and they mature alot. I've been very lucky in that DD is sensible, but have seen the very same thing with her mates.

LollipopViolet Tue 11-Aug-09 20:49:18

I'm 19 and I'm mates with my mum . I know she's still my mum, and she does tell me to toe the line when it's needed. But, we have enjoyed 3 or 4 really nice days out together over the last few weeks, sharing our photography hobby, and it's been lovely.

milknosugarplease Mon 24-Aug-09 23:23:51

im 21 and my mums is definetly my best friend, ive grown up having a fantastic relationship, we've never had a "curfew" or never been banned from drinking, most poeople look at that and think god thats ridiculous BUT we have learnt to respect our boundries, even being 14/1 we respected a "curfew"(we would never come in at 3am etc) we both drank but never got drunk etc...growing up all my friends used to say "i want a mum like urs you get away with everything" er no we didnt! we weren't allowed tv's in out rooms until we were 18, had family sit down meals...rooms had to be kept tidy etc...

ok gone off the topic! what im trying to say is theres a thin line between being matey and over matey (iygwim!) and get it right, its great, when i have kids i hope i have the same relationship with my kids as i do with my parents!

ErikaMaye Mon 31-Aug-09 23:19:37

I'm 18, and whilst I'd say my Mum and I are friends now, that's more because she's started to treat me as an "equal" on certain levels, as I'm now preparing to be a mother too. From about 16 onwwards if we were out at parties she would buy me a maximum of two drinks if I wanted to drink, which seemed perfectly fair. I understand the desire to want to be friends with your teens, we're not the easiest of age groups sometimes (grin) but at the same time, think that if you haven't got a clear "We can have a laugh but I am still your parent and you will respect that" sort of line, it gets awkward for all parties involved. We knew a family who's daughter was the same age as me, and they were all very "buddy-buddy" at one stage - now they don't talk.

sadhoney Tue 08-Sep-09 22:36:26

Agree with what random said.

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