My mum always told me she was my best friend. Maybe not in the proverbial sense – we did not stay up late together swapping secrets over ice-cream or painting each other’s nails – but she told me that when it came to real honesty, I would never trust anyone as much as her. “I have no reason to lie to you”, she’d say, when I’d adamantly maintain that, despite her objections, that new dress I’d brought or the new make-up I was trialling did suit me.
But my parents were more over-protective than most, and, as a result, I had quite a strict upbringing. I was not one of those children that was allowed to do as I chose. I got a mobile phone after everyone else, I was not allowed to go to lots of the places my friends were, and I could absolutely forget getting a second hole whilst I ‘still lived under their roof.’
Best friends? Ha, likely story.
Except, it has turned out to be more accurate than I could ever have envisioned.
Last week, as part of National Childhood Obesity Week, new research revealed that parents fear talking to their children about weight as they fear it could upset them.
But surely, if that is the case, these self-same parents would also not be able to say no to their little darlings when they beg for another ice-cream. Yes they’re looking a little overweight, but it’s just puppy fat – sure to disappear by the time they start caring about it.
It would seem, therefore, that some mothers – as many as two out of three, if the recent research is to be believed - are responsible for their children’s obesity, which ultimately both begins and ends with them.
This ‘mother as best friend’ theme seems to be running through the media at the moment, as an article in last week’s Telegraph explained the ‘growing trend’ of mother-daughter relationships as staying up late swapping secrets over ice-cream and painting each other’s nails, as opposed to traditional role-models.
And this is not the first time this has come to the forefront, either. An article in the Daily Mail from February 2010 revealed that out of a quarter of adults surveyed, a third admitted to being a ‘pushover’ with their offspring and more than half saw themselves as their child’s friend, rather then their parent.
And it’s not just obesity that is being affected through this apparent change in status-quo, either. According to the Daily Mail last week, the number of violent and persistently badly behaved children is on the rise as more pupils are being suspended from school for abuse and assault. And lest we ignore the recent number of news stories related to child-on-child sex attacks and last year’s youth-induced riots. It’s not rocket science to understand why all these things are on the rise.
My mum always said she was my best friend. But somehow, I don’t think it has the same meaning anymore.