Moms Feel the Heat From Family in “Mom Shaming” Study

18 years ago.

As a mother, I’ve been critiqued and criticized and apparently so have a majority of other moms. According to C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health from the University of Michigan, 60% of moms with young kids have faced criticism and mostly from their own moms and other family members. That’s what hurts. I believe your family should have your back. But, when they criticize your kids or how you’re raising them, it really hurts. It’s not easily forgotten or forgiven. Even though comments are offered with the best intentions, we tend to take what family members say much deeper than from a busybody stranger.

According to WRDW TV in Augusta, GA:

The survey, conducted between February and June, found that six out of 10 mothers with kids ages five and younger felt they received some sort of criticism about how they parented their children. But what’s surprising is so many of those critiques come from the people they feel closest too – their own family members.

A recent survey by the C.S. Mott Children’s Poll on Children’s Health (CPCH) and the University of Michigan surveyed moms across the country with kids ages five and younger 60% felt criticized by members of their own family. Discipline was the most common topic of criticism, followed by what mothers were feeding their kids, how much sleep they were getting, how much time they spent outside and how much time was spent on electronics.

The survey found that generational differences between grandparents and newer parents were some of the biggest reasons behind critiques, followed by issues between mothers and their in-laws.

 

friendsatbeach

My kids and friends exploring tide pools.

 

An article from Live Science called “60% of Moms Have Been Mom-Shamed” had this to say:

The survey found that 61 percent of moms of young kids said they’d been shamed for their parenting at some point. Twenty-three percent said they’d gotten criticism from three or more different sources. Family was a greater source of criticism than strangers, friends or social media commenters. Only 12 percent of respondents reported being criticized by other mothers in public, while 14 percent reported getting criticism from friends and 8 percent reported hearing criticism from a health care provider. Just 7 percent reported receiving criticism from people online.

These findings could reflect the fact that new moms likely interact more frequently with family members than with online trolls, or that moms might be more sensitive to criticism coming from family members whom they expect to be supportive, C.S. Mott researchers wrote in a report accompanying the findings.

The report, called “Mom Shaming or Constructive Criticism? Perspectives of Mothers,” has interesting findings:

The targets of criticism reported in the Mott Poll reflect differences in cultural norms of parenting. Discipline, the most commonly criticized parenting topic, is rife with opposing views, such as spanking vs time-outs, or strict adherence to rules vs allowing space for the child to explore. Further conflict can arise when those criticizing have unrealistic expectations for a toddler or preschooler, while the mother feels she has a better understanding of her own child’s abilities. Family visits can create unique challenges, as the child’s usual routine is disrupted to accommodate travel and special events; mothers who believe their child’s behavior is impacted by the family visit may be particularly irritated by family criticism of her discipline choices.

Mothers also report being criticized about breast- vs bottle-feeding and sleep. These are just two topics where national guidelines have shifted in recent years, such that parenting norms of older family members may not reflect the current best practices.

The report can be downloaded here.

 

merobkat

Me and my kids.

I believe most of us think we’re doing a pretty good job parenting. It’s easy to be critical of others, but keep in mind that every kid and family is different. What works for your child may not work at all for another. Or, what works today for your kid might not tomorrow.

 

Now that my kids are no longer young, but are young adults, we’ve talked about what they think of my parenting style. What’s funny is that we have entirely different perspectives. I view my style as laid back and I wouldn’t get ruffled. I let my kids explore without too much interference. My kids perceive me as super strict and hovering. Probably the reality is somewhere in-between.

Were you ever criticized by a family member for your parenting? How did it make you feel? Also, do you view yourself as a permissive parent or overly strict? Do you parent the way your mom did?

 

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