Sixty-one percent of mothers have been criticized for their parenting choices, according to new data from the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health. Rather than questioning their choices, most women (67%) reported that the criticism made them feel more strongly about their parenting choices.
Mom Shaming a Common Annoyance
“Mom shaming” is the practice of criticizing a woman’s parenting choices, often without considering the role of fathers, other caregivers, cultural factors, or financial constraints in these choices. Parenting decisions can carry significant emotional and cultural weight. Mom shaming can be a source of distress that labels women as bad mothers.
To explore the prevalence and effects of mom shaming, researchers asked a sample of mothers of children ages 0-5 about their experiences with mom shaming. The survey asked about specific sources of mom shaming, such as breastfeeding versus bottle-feeding, sleep habits, and car seat safety. It also included questions about who shamed mothers and how they reacted.
Discipline was the most common source of criticism (70%), though feeding choices (52%) and sleep (46%) also figured prominently.
How Does Shaming Affect Mothers?
Mothers reported a range of responses to shaming. Most sought out more information (60%) or asked a health care provider (53%). About a third (37%) changed the way they parent, but for most mothers, criticism solidified their belief in their own parenting choices.
A significant number (42%) also reported increased insecurity in their parenting choices due to criticism. Half said they avoid critical people, and 56% said their experiences of mom shaming caused them to stop criticizing other mothers.
Mom shaming or constructive criticism? Perspectives of mothers. (2017, June 19). Retrieved from http://mottnpch.org/reports-surveys/mom-shaming-or-constructive-criticism-perspectives-mothers
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