It's tough to walk the line between parent and friend with your children. You want your kids to like you, to trust you, to acknowledge your ‘cool.’ But can you be the cool mom without letting your kids walk all over you? Here are three strategies Circle of Moms members recommend for establishing your cool factor while maintaining your authority as a good parent.
Your kids may not listen to you as often as you would like, but that doesn't mean they don't want you to listen to them. One of the easiest ways to find out what is really going on with them can be to ask open ended questions and then just listen. Angela B. believes that listening without interrupting will help your child "know that she matters." Jana W. has similar advice: “I found being a good listener and trying to keep my mouth shut (no lecturing or judging) worked best with my own daughters.”
Listening also shows that you respect your child's opinions and ideas (even when you don't agree with them). This type of mutual respect is important for any relationship, even the one you have with your kids. As Becky E. says of her sons: “I'm giving them the same respect that I would give my other friends. I listen to them, I consider their feelings, and I when I have to 'exert my authority' I do so in a way that preserves our relationship, because that is most important.”
2. Be Honest
Being honest and open with your kids about your life experiences isn't always easy, but it can be beneficial. It's often a two-way street: if you want them to tell you the truth you have to do the same, and even admit that you've made some mistakes along the way. Diana C. believes that this kind of honest communication is the best way to raise her kids: "Its better to always get the truth from you than to learn some half-truth or, even worse, the wrong thing entirely, from someone else. Tell them your experiences, but also tell them what you've learned from those experiences. In the end it all comes down to communication and trust. Without those nothing you do will work."
Jenifer M. takes the same approach when her kids ask questions, and is careful to keep what she shares age appropriate: "I try to aswer any questions honestly and upfront, but obviously I'm more informative to the older kids than the younger ones. A 9-year-old can handle the facts but doesn't need too much detail yet, and a 14 to 21-year-old gets a situation-relevant talk."
3. Set Aside Time Just For Them
If you're struggling with the relationship you have with your child, several moms offer the reassuring advice that simply spending one-on-one time with your child can really help. Setting aside that time to do something fun, just the two of you, is a good way to reconnect. Judi S., a mom of 4, says she believes in "open ears and firm boundaries." As she explains, “The time that you spend with them allows them to talk about the things that are going on in their lives. It allows them to have a sounding board, sometimes for advice and sometimes just to spew.”
Dee Ann S. was able to develop a closer relationship with her girls by doing a "mother/daughter" day every once in a while: "That seemed to help with my girls. They felt like I cared enough to spend the day with them and go on trips or just go to the mall or go get our nails done." You can use the same concept to set aside special time just for mother/son activities.
Nadja P. uses this approach with her son: "My 16-year-old son and I go to dinner, just the two of us. He picks the place and we talk about the stuff he wants to talk about organically: sports, school, college, TV shows, whatever. The conversation doesn't have to be deep, but he knows that I'm not his enemy and that he can talk to me, which makes for a better relationship all around."
What do your kids think is the "coolest" thing about their mom?
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.