Your son comes home from a friend's house and informs you, "His mom is really cool!" You pretend not to care and reassure yourself that you are being the best mother you can be for your child, yet you can't keep from wondering what exactly qualifies her as a "cool" parent. You can set boundaries and guide your child responsibly through life, but still be a mother who kids will want to be around by knowing when to be firm and when to have fun.
Developmental Stages of Childhood
Know that young children seek consistent, predictable and loving mothers. It's easy to be beloved by your child at this stage, but cool moms know that it's still critical to maintain rules and limits. Children need to know an adult can hold firm and set reasonable boundaries to keep them safe.
Understand that adolescents place increasing value on peer relationships, but still need the firm guidance of parents. Cool moms don't worry when their kids prefer the company of their friends over family. But encourage kids to meet where you can supervise. Make your home a welcoming place for preteens by having plenty of food available and space for kids to hang out or do homework together.
Don't compete or attempt to join in by dressing young or acting hip. By the time your child is a teen, she will be developing into an independent young adult. Genuine cool style comes from continuing to be a parent, not a pal. Communicate with your teen with respect for her growing independence. Extend your trust.
A Welcoming Home
Make your house the place where all the other kids want to hang out. Where space allows, have available games such as pingpong, air hockey or video stations. Supply healthful drinks and snacks for kids and place them in easy-to-access refrigerators and cupboards for older teens or offer food to younger children.
Ensure that kids know the rules and limits so other parents will feel good about knowing your house is well-supervised. Mothers who let underage kids drink alcohol or who look the other way when dangerous behavior occurs are not appreciated by other families.
Be the mom other kids can talk to by listening without judgment and offering advice only when asked. Trusted adults are vital to a healthful transition by growing adolescents. Let your own children and their friends know that you are there for them and you can be relied on during the times of turmoil that come with moving into young adulthood.
Be a Fun and Trusted Adult
Let younger children direct the activities and conceal any boredom you might feel while playing simple games. Parents who are cool in their kids' eyes are the ones who keep the play lighthearted and fun but help children end activities that might be dangerous or inappropriate.
Make the time and space for preteens to spend time together with minimal adult interruption. Private time to talk together or merely hang out is important for adolescents. Reasonable boundaries and house rules can be made clear in a firm, friendly manner.
Know that loving mothering never goes out of style. Continue to be consistent and fair and know how to let grown children direct their own lives. Ultimately the way to be cool is to take your own mother's advice to "Be yourself." Children respect adults who are confident in their role as parents but who know how to conduct their own lives to find satisfaction and happiness.