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“The Party Don’t Start ‘Til Mom Walks In”: Parenting for the Modern Mother

Merlijn Hoek

Kim Scharfenberger - published on 11/21/13

Should mothers go clubbing with their daughters? Are we really having this conversation?

In the past few weeks, there has been a slew of news articles (including feature pieces on the NY Post, Yahoo News, and that delve into the newest trend in modern parenting – partying with your kids. This trend most typically applies to mothers and daughters, and it doesn’t appear to be a “once in a blue moon” activity. More and more, mothers seem to be utilizing the club scene as an ideal environment for mother-daughter bonding.

The modern modern’s approach to parenting has been under a lot of scrutiny lately. After all, society’s family structure has shifted quite dramatically in recent generations. With many modern-day marriages ending in divorce and with 84% of single custodial parents being mothers, that means that the dynamic between mother and child might be in need of redefinition.

Eager to pave the way in redefining acceptable activities, Hollywood is none too shy about emphasizing parent-child clubbing through its entertainment moguls. Many well-known stars also happen to spend a lot of time partying with their children. Madonna and her daughter Lordes, the Kardashian brood, or the ill-adjusted Dina and Lindsey Lohan are prime examples of this glitzy, high-profile approach to parental bonding. But these examples, particularly the Lohans – who frequently find themselves in hot water due to their partying habits – fail to create a constructive bond between a mother and her daughter.

The trend also found its way into mainstream television media last year through the VH1 ten-episode reality docu-series, Mama Drama, which capitalized on the increasing popularity of unorthodox mother-daughter relationships. The “documentary” series follows five sets of mother-daughter pairs that “put their relationships on the line as they figure out if being BFFs really is the best for everyone or just a recipe for total disaster.” If the first few episodes of chaos are anything to go by, the drama just might not be worth the “best friend” approach to mothering.

Still, defenders of this approach to parenting are determined to get their point across. “What’s wrong with going out with your daughter, having fun, dancing, and enjoying amazing moments together?” asks one of these clubbing moms in a recent interview.  Her 22-year-old daughter agrees, describing her mother as “a mix of best friend plus someone who’s telling me what’s right.” Yet her daughter also explains that “going out with [her] mother is like going out with one of the girls. She looks and dresses like one of us… she doesn’t judge me for what I do, nor does she police me.”

Society seems undecided on this topic. Many agree that cultivating a close relationship with your children, including open communication, is quite integral for maintaining a healthy parent-child bond. But it remains to be seen whether that mentality extends to the kind of “BFF” closeness found at the late-night clubbing scene.

What do you think? Is this approach to parenting harmful to the child, or is it just a creative way to establish a more open bond? Tell us your opinion below!

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