Two-thirds of new mothers criticised over parenting choices, but experts side with mums

Nearly two thirds of American women claim they are being “mum-shamed”, experts have revealed. Research shows six in 10 mums with young children reporting criticism over their parenting style. Alarmingly, their critics are close to home:

  • 37% mum’s own parents
  • 36% mum’s husband or partner
  • 31% mum’s in-laws
  • 14% mum’s friends
  • 12% other women
Empathy Guidance For Families

The University of Michigan’s CS Mott Children’s Hospital study questioned a sample of 475 mothers with children ranging from newborns up to five-years-old, with 70% saying they were most “shamed” for how they disciplined their child, followed by diet (52%), sleep (46%), breastfeeding choices (39%), safety (20%), and general child care (16%).

Sarah Clark, co-director of the poll, said: “There are very few things that are ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. Putting your child in a car seat is right, but what day-care they go to, or how you feel about breastfeeding is just a choice.”

Clark urged family members to consider the quantity of new information available about child health and safety, which often challenges the parenting choices of previous generations.

“Unsolicited advice – especially from the people closest to her child – can be perceived as meaning she’s not doing a good job as a mother. That can be hurtful,” said Clark.

It’s not all bad news. The study also says new mums are taking the results with a large pinch of salt. Clark reported 67% of polled mothers said the criticism made them feel more resolute in their parenting decisions.