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Friend or Mom?

What are you going to do with the influence you have in your daughter’s life?
By Darlene Brock

A recent study revealed that 43 percent of today’s parents are seeking acceptance and friendship from their teens. Forty percent of these parents surveyed said they would buy their children everything they wanted to accomplish their primary objective: to be their child’s best friend. In theory this sounds like a good plan. Who doesn’t want their child to like them? To share private thoughts as a friend would? To hang out? To have deep, meaningful conversations and friendly fun?

But there’s an unintended byproduct to this desire: in order to maintain a position of friendship one must abdicate a position of authority. Friends are generally not instructional. Friendship does not discipline, set rules, protect, give insight, and seldom challenges incorrect acts. Parenting does. Friends don’t generally inspire and motivate you to become more in life. Parents do. By desiring to be a member of the friendship club these parents are missing a significant reality. A child will have many friends, but as parents, we’re it.

Whether you are a birth parent, a foster parent, an adoptive parent, or a stepparent, the privileged role you play in your daughter’s life is exclusive. You are not part of the team; you are the coach. You are singularly the most influential person in your daughter’s life.

I can’t stress enough how important this job is. No one can replace your role and make an impact on your girl the way you can. This relationship is vital. Without it, the effects on your daughter will be immense and will last forever. Does this bring fear? Indeed it should. But don’t let that thought paralyze you. Motherhood is a manageable task  if you stay the course. And just wait—at times it’ll even be inspiring when you, as the coach, see your daughter make that winning play.

For all of you mothers, like myself, who experienced days (or months or years) of relational panic with your daughters, I have a wonderful piece of “after the fact” knowledge to give you hope. There will be times when you will wonder if your daughter will ever become your friend if you’re an effective coach. You’ll watch that daughter storm off toward her room and desperately wonder, Will she hate me forever? Am I always going to be the one who just doesn’t understand?

Real-life experience with both my daughters taught me that neither of those fears is real. If you’re committed to being a great mom and you maintain the position of coach that you daughter needs (whether she wants to admit it or not), you’ll become her friend. And the relationship formed will be a much deeper, more meaningful one than she’ll have with her peers. The kind of relationship transcending time, distance, and life obstacles. A relationship that runs so strong your heart will thrill with what you and your daughter mean to each other.

The mother who performs her duties from a fearful, pacifying place, always trying to be her daughter’s friend, will never have the privilege of experiencing this profound relationship because the daughter will never develop a healthy respect for her mother. But the mother who holds firm to the position of coach? She’ll experience lifelong benefits!

Adapted from Help Wanted: Moms Raising Daughters, © 2011 Darlene Brock (OakTara Publishers/The Grit and Grace Project), pages 14-16. 

Click here to listen to Darlene Brock on FamilyLife Today.

FamilyLife is a donor-supported ministry offering practical and biblical resources and events to help you build a godly marriage and family.

Meet the Author: Darlene Brock

Darlene Brock grew up in a small Indiana town known primarily for the automobiles it produced in the ’20s and ’30s—the Auburn, Cord, and Duesenberg. Desiring more freedom and adventure than a small town afforded, she left home two weeks after her high school graduation and began her foray into the workplace.

Holding a short-term office job at a local church, Darlene quickly discovered at the age of eighteen that perhaps she wasn’t “church” material. She was then hired at a very political and influential law firm as a receptionist. This big Indiana city law office exposed her to the world of politics and provided her with a raw, in-depth perspective into the legal profession. This experience ultimately piloted Darlene toward a growing conviction that she needed more purpose in her life. Although she wasn’t at the time “church” material she desired something more than the “success” she observed that was attained through power, wealth and influence.

It was then that she left the political and legal world behind, moved to live and work in a Christian commune located in northern Ohio. She headed a girl’s home, which was part of a community social service initiative that took in indigents and runaways. The girls in the home ran a cleaning company, grew their own food, and participated in intense Bible studies. Leaving a highly political office environment to join the young communal mindset of the time, Darlene discovered the fulfillment and purpose she desired, yet rejected the narrow and legalistic side of that lifestyle. 

Upon that realization she returned to Indiana to oversee a retreat center and summer campground.  It was there during a Music Industry Retreat Darlene met her future husband, Dan R. Brock who was in attendance. Later on a road trip with a friend to Nashville, she met up again with Dan.  It was then he offered Darlene her first job in the music industry.  Accepting the position she then relocated to Music City, Nashville, Tennessee.

The following year, Dan and Darlene married and moved to Oklahoma City.  There they founded Brock & Associates, their own personal management and booking agency representing early Christian rockers Petra and DeGarmo & Key.

The genre of Contemporary Christian Music was in its infancy, and the Brocks were pioneers in a new frontier. Expanding their business led to the formation of Creative Concerts, the concert promotion arm of B & A. Darlene led this venture where she traveled and produced concerts throughout the U.S., learning how to adapt and build relationships with a diverse array of individuals in equally diverse cities. It was in Oklahoma during that busy time that both of her daughters were born.

The Brocks moved back to Nashville in 1987 and continued to manage several acts through their company. It was in 1988 ForeFront Records was launched in the kitchen of their Music Row management office. Dan began the label with partners DeGarmo & Key and producer Ron W. Griffin. Darlene immediately served various capacities within this young company while continuing her role as co-manager to Brock & Associates’ artists. 

In 1990, when Dan became President and CEO of ForeFront, Darlene began her solo flight in personal management with DC Talk and Geoff Moore & the Distance. Success in that role included multiple Grammy and Dove nominations and awards for her management clients, as well as awards for videos produced by Darlene. At the same time she served as COO of ForeFront, overseeing employees and business interests at this growing multimillion dollar record and music publishing group. 

Darlene’s daughters grew up while she worked full time in her various business roles. They were exposed to all aspects of the music industry, from traveling to concerts with her, attending awards programs, to rollerblading outside of the edit bay when she was producing music videos. In 1996 ForeFront was acquired by EMI from Dan and current co-owner Eddie DeGarmo. The Brock’s retired from the music business in 1999 then relocated to Florida in 2001.

After an extended semi-retired phase, Darlene with husband Dan, co-founded The Grit and Grace Project.  The purpose of this organization is to assist women in reaching their full potential and find purpose as Individuals, Wives and Mothers.  Her book “Help Wanted: moms raising daughters”, Spring 2011, is the companies first release.

Since the publication of Help Wanted: moms raising daughters, Darlene has been featured on Fox News,, TLC’s Parentables, Beliefnet, Christian Post, and many other radio programs and numerous blogs and websites for Women.

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