Mother love: Parents adopt friendship over guidance as latest parenting technique

Mother love: Parents adopt friendship over guidance as latest parenting technique



21:07 GMT, 23 April 2012

If your daughter is your best friend forever, you've hit upon the latest parenting technique.

Gone are the days when parents believed their offspring should be seen and not heard.

Today, mothers and daughters are more likely to be trading dating advice on Twitter, plundering each others wardrobes and partying together.

Close relationship: The trend for a friendship-style bond between a mother and daughter is growing but some experts say it's not always the best parenting method

Too close for comfort The trend for a friendship-style bond between a mother and daughter is growing but experts say it's not the best parenting method

Once mothers had little more to do with their daughters than giving them a goodnight kiss and leaving them with a nanny before they headed out to a grown-up dinner where children were definitely not allowed.

However, thanks in part to celebrities such as Madonna and Lourdes or Dina and Lindsay Lohan, it's increasingly hard to tell the lives of the two generations apart.

In a survey, 71 percent of women aged between 21 and 54 said they considered their mother to be one of their best friends.

Take Julie, 50, and Samantha, 19, Bilinkas of New Jersey for example.

Speaking to New York magazine, Miss Bilinkas says that her close friendship with her mother allows a deeper connection than she can achieve with school mates.

'When I think of us being BFFs, it's not that superficial stuff like it is with my friends,' she says.

'It's more of a deep friendship, not like, “Yeah, we're best friends – we like to match, go to parties.”'

The Bilinkas' dynamic is typical of a dynamic that emerged in the Sixties when there was a move to create stronger bonds with children.

Psychologists claimed parents should
forge closer ties with their offspring, such as Dr Spock who was one of
the first to say that it was acceptable to be visibly affectionate to
your children.

Psychologists suggest that a close relationship between a mother and daughter can smother the child and inhibit social development

Today, however, experts believe that the shift has more to do with mothers wanting to look and feel as young as their children.

Sociologist Deborah Carr believes this is a trend that is particular to mothers who were born between the mid-Forties and Sixties – women who probably had more formal relationships with their own parents.

'This moms generation – especially if they're baby-boomers or Gen X – they're such a part of this youth culture they don't actually see themselves as the old mother,' she told the magazine.

While the social development is certainly in vogue, not everyone sees it as a good thing.

Camilla Mager, a New York-based psychologist recently told New York magazine that parents should retain a respectful distance.

'The question you have to ask on some level is what's going on in the relationship that two people of such different generations consider themselves best friends

As close as you may be to your mother, ideally on some level she's always a guiding force, someone who's been there before you; therefore you're never peers.'

Ms Mager suggests that a too-close mother-daughter relationship is smothering and may even inhibit a child's social development.

If you [consider yourselves equals], that suggests to me that the daughter is way too grown up or the mother is missing something in her life,' she added.