Should Mothers be close to their older children?

Mother_and_DaughtersFor some reason there seems to be a new understanding of the relationship a mother is supposed to have with her daughters. It is fine, apparently, for mother and daughter to be close  while the child is younger than about 12, but after that mum (and I assume dad) is supposed to almost back out of her daughter’s life.

There are those who think and openly say that a parent who is closely involved with a teenage daughter’s life is simply a bad parent; interfering; over the top; too involved; controlling. I am unsure how a mother is not supposed to be involved with her own daughter’s welfare and upbringing.

A friend of mine has been criticised and laughed at because she gets on well with her daughter and her daughter’s boyfriend (my son) and worse still, in their eyes that she spends time with them. They were astonished to learn that she has bothered to meet and get to know the family of her daughter’s boyfriend. They were pleased to announce they had no idea who their own children met up with or presumably what they got up to.

I don’t have many friends with teenage children, and none with teenage daughters, but the ones I have whose children are close to the teen years are strongly in favour of ensuring they have close relationships with those children no matter how old they are. I am not convinced this is a simple case of home ed families are closer than families who send their children to school. Certainly schooled children do have a tendency to fall into peer groups with all its pressures and anti-parental culture, but I have come across even home ed mothers who don’t have a close relationship with their older children and seem to have no idea what they get up to. I saw a doctor the other night speaking with bewilderment about the number of children she has seen seriously ill thanks to alchohol and parents insist their child doesn’t drink.

A close relationship between mother and daughter was once considered a precious thing. God given. I find it astonishing that so many mothers are prepared to shrug off this gift and not only leave their young daughters to date secret boyfriends and spend all hours with unknown friends, but  mock those mothers for whom the relationship is still important.

I know many women whose mothers were too self absorbed, cruel or just too busy to spend time with them; who were never there to talk to and to learn from and they swear they will not do that to their daughters.  I believe my friend is a good mother who is ensuring her children’s welbeing and she has every right to know who her daughter sees and when. As it happens her daughter and my son are happy to be around both families. It’s simply part of life to them.

I have been reading some MSM stuff on home education and I am beginning to feel that the only articles that are getting published are those that imply home ed parents leave their children to their own decvices to the extent of neglect. No doubt this is trendy-where the children get to ignore the parents, but it is NOT what most home ed families I know do and I am glad to say many of my children’s school friends to do have this separation state either (although sadly some do).

Family life is important-let’s protect it a bit.


13 responses to “Should Mothers be close to their older children?

  1. Where would I be without my daughters, I have three. My two young adult daughters are close to me. As my girls were growing up I always insisted on transparency. Today they feel as if they can come to me with anything, and they do. Sometimes I feel like I know more than I really want to. Is this a bad thing? I think not. There have been times when I have helped them out of a few potentially life changing events and shared my experiences and opinions with them. Not that they take my advice but they did listen to options they didn’t know were available. Where would they be or what would they have done if theyt had not felt comfortable to come to.

    I don’t believe we are fully grown up until around age 27 or 28. At what age did you truely feel like an adult. The brain takes a long time to mature. Heck, I’m stll learning and I’m 55.

    My kids know the real me and I’m glad to say I know the real them. How can you love someone you don’t truely know. You may love the idea of that person, or the person you want them to be but in the end who do you really love.

    Life is a journey and how sad and lonely that journey would be if we all had to have our game faces on when we sat down to relax with the people who know us at our best and at our worst.

  2. Interesting..I have 8 daughters..I do think an over close relationship in later years is unhealthy at times..

  3. wow. i am shocked that people have that response! of course a good relationship with teens AND adult children is important… essential, even! What has the world come to?

    …nevermind. don’t answer that. I”m not up for the answer just now.

  4. Thank you ladies. Cathy and BWYA I agree whole heartedly. I actually believe a mother should love her daughters and be close to them and there for them no matter how old they are. Far too many women have no motherly support when their own children come along. How many bad marriages, bad boyfriends and the like could be avoided if mothers were there for their daughters?
    My son loves his girlfriend’s mother and has no problem with the fact that both parents wanted to meet him and check him out. Even the grandfather (in Italy) has made sure Alex is honourable. I see nothing wrong in wanting the best for their daughter and I want the same for mine (and my sons of course).

    I might add here that thanks to the fact my daughter can talk to me we were able to avoid something very very nasty indeed happening to her a few years ago.

  5. Shell, any man who wants to court my daughter had better get used to the idea that i am going to want to know him, know about him etc. Do you know something, my daughter will be 18 in about 6 weeks and as yet she has never had a date, never been out with a boy, and though i know there will be a time (should it come) when she meets someone, i am just so pleased that she is not making the same mistakes as some of her peers. She has a dignity and grace and quietness of spirit and she blesses and enriches my life enormously. I only want a man for her, if he sees her as i see her, because then i know he will love her deeply.

    We get along great, although we each like our own space we also enjoy spending time together and family is very important to her. As you know, things couldn’t be more different with my son!

    I think my situation may be a bit different because i am her only living parent and we are exceptionally close, but i also encourage her to be responsibly independent because i don;t want her to cling to me and not go out of the comfort zone of family life.

    How old is Alex, if you don;t mind me asking, and when did he start courting?

  6. Same here Deb. I think it’s lovely the way Alex has been accepted as part of his girlfriend’s family and vikky-verkky (as we say round here). I would be appalled if one of my children starting seeing other people in secret. A close relationship means the young’uns can make independent decisions, safely-knowing they have somewhere to come when they need to. A close relationship allows our children to do this.

    My oldest son has never had a girlfriend either (he’s 20) because he is choosing to wait for the right person for a proper courtship. (he isn’t yet sure he is called to marriage)
    Alex is 18 and is sure that he is called to marriage and a family. All his work (jobwise and college) is aimed at having a career that will give him a family wage.
    The fact that I have become good friends with his girlfriend’s mother (whom he affectionately calls ‘mother’ or even ‘mother in law’ LOL) is an added bonus, and I believe an important one. Her sister gets on well with my daughter as well. We all just like time chillin’. That’s not to say Alex and his beloved don’t get time to themselves; of course they do. But we have strict rules which both of them are very happy with.
    Interestingly those rules were mocked by this groups of women.

    • I think that a good relationship with our children hopefully fosters an openness that makes sneaking around a non issue. As parents, we know that it is right and proper that our children will leave us and form families of their own (or not, as the case may be) and although i am yet to experience this i hope that I have a good enough relationship with my daughter that she will want me to develop a relationship of sorts, with whoever she might become involved with in the future…and not sneak around, Lord knows where. If he is a ‘good boy’ he will hopefully not want her to sneak around and will want to spend time getting to know her family etc.

      The thought of not knowing where our children are and whom they are with is just such a nonsense to me and i don’t know any caring parent who cares for the needs of their children more than their own needs, who would not want to know – particularly in this day and age – what our kids were doing and who they were ‘doing whatever’ with.

      Alas, courtships nowadays are almost non existent with so many people preferring to maintain the right to try before they buy so to speak…..trying people on and discarding them if they don’t ‘fit right’ in their lives.

      I think it’s important for all parents, but especially Christian parents to let our kids know that ‘casual relationships’ are not healthy in any way whatsoever and though our children’s peers may well be rampantly developing promiscuous ways, they are not in fact doing themselves any favours.

      I think it’s great that you get along well with Alex’s girlfriend’s family and that both you and his girlfriend’s Mum share the common interest of caring for the well-being of both teens and wanting things to progress slowly and in as wholesome a way as possible.

  7. I don’t think that notion, that mothers and daughters should not be close or mothers involved in their teens’ lives at all, is as common here in the US as you say it is in the UK. Or maybe I just live in an area that hasn’t felt that kind of over-reaching ‘professional’ influence yet. (and who are these ‘professionals’ and what credentials do they have to preach this kind of sillness to the rest of us? What other failed ideas have they tried to make us live with?)

    It may be, too, that I live in a very Catholic area (the Ohio Valley), with very traditional Catholic values with a very large ‘subculture’ within the bigger culture. Not quite like the Amish who are separated a great deal from the surrounding culture, but rather living ‘in the world’, trying desperately not to be of it and a lot of support for tradtional family and family values.

    I’m very, very close to all my children, and we all enjoy being out together, sitting and talking about issues important to them or the news in general etc. It is nice to feel connected to my own family! That kind of pressure to disconnect entirely from one’s own children smackes of being downright silly, too, if not foisted on families by those who want to do the influencing instead! (Because the void will have to be filled by SOMEONE, right? If not mom, then who?)

    I agree with Jackie on her point, too, if parents are ‘too close’, that is, always making all the decisions for their teens, not letting them become adults. Unless the teen wants to do immoral or dangerous things, or make lifechanging decisions they do not have the maturity to actually make (like facial tattoos, for example. Cool when one is 16, a really bad idea when one is out looking for a job in a professional office.) the parents should allow them to make as many of their own decisions as they (the parents) judge their teen is capable of making. Or even offer guidance.

    One of our friends (living in another part of the US) has a teenage daughter who would love to go to university, but her father is discouraging, and actually forbidding her from attending because he feels it will ‘corrupt’ her. Well, she’s 18 years old and able to make that decision without his consent, yet he insists on trying to keep her home through the demands of ‘obeying’ him or through other kinds of guilt. That is incredibly unhealthy, and the mother has removed herself and the children from that situation (there are other problems there, too, though)

    Nothing is worse than feeling disconnected from one’s family! My own mother was a totally ‘hands off’ kind of mother, and I really hated that lack of connectedness an trust in her. I really needed guidance, but she wanted to be left alone. She could have saved me a lot of pain and heartache by simply taking the time to know me, to talk to me about a lot of issues I was confused or unsure about when I asked her.

    I want to let my kids ‘grow up’ but always let them know I love them and I’m here for them when I am needed.

  8. Err! I wasn’t talking bout teens..more daughters in their 20s & 30s who should become undependet & not enmeshed. That’s NOT to say they continueit to get on great with their parents but must form their odon’t own families. My 6 teenagers are wonderfully close to me & we talk about everything. But they can’t be MY company..I need to make & have my own friends as they should be encouraged to make good & healthy friends too..

    • Sorry to have misunderstood, Jackie!

      But thinking about it a bit, if one is going to be ‘too close’ to a daughter as an adult, likely there is a problem that can be seen ‘way back during the teen years, too! What was once called being ‘strangled by apron strings’, perhaps.

      I do agree with you again, on the correct point.

  9. I think the word “close” can confuse people. To me a close relationship is a good strong and healthy one. The dignity of each is recognised by the other and there is mutual respect. This means there is no emotional blackmail or manipulative behaviour because there doesn’t need to be.
    It seems to me that those relationships which others judge as “too close” are in fact not close at all. There are lots of nasty things going on, and as Shana points out-have been for some time.

    Mothers need to be there for their daughters (and sons but this is a mother-daughter thread) even in adulthood.
    A friend of mine and myself have been through the horrible experience of a really sick child and having NO support from mothers or MILs. Yet I know plenty of families where mum or mil will come and help out in a crisis-or even just to give mum and dad a break.
    Last night for example a friend phoned because her 2yr old was struggling to breathe and Josh rushed over to help (I couldn’t go). But he didn’t need to stay because gran was on the way. THIS is how it should be.

    For teens-like Alex’s girlfriend; mum’s really need to be on guard. What if Alex was up to no good?

  10. I think there is a problem of knowing too little. So many parents are allowing their sons and daughters to run around with friends they don’t know, to places that aren’t supervised or appropriate and are blind to the various devices, like cell phones, internet, etc., that their children are using. My SIL has two boys and she doesn’t know what her eldest son’s user name(s) on various social networking sites are…and they are

    • (sorry…the comment posted for some reason in mid-type!

      the user names are vulgar and very inappropriate. I only know because I used the computer at my PIL after he did and discovered them.

      Anyway, this was about mothers and daughters. My mom died when I was 20 and had been sick for a very long time. I longed for a closer relationship. There is a difference between a close relationship and smothering. My daughter is only four, so I hope to learn somethings before she’s an adult to have a healthy relationship 🙂

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