Moms Whose Lives Revolve Around Baby Suffer
Whether parenthood makesِ a person happy orِ notِ mayِ depend onِ their attitude towardِ proper childrearing, newِ research suggests.
Moms whoِ takeِ anِ intensive approach, marked byِ the belief thatِ mothers areِ the mostِ important people inِ baby’s life andِ that parents shouldِ alwaysِ put theirِ child’s needsِ first, areِ less likelyِ to beِ satisfied withِ theirِ lives andِ more likelyِ to beِ stressed thanِ moreِ laid-back moms.
There’s somethingِ very appealing aboutِ these intensive parenting ideologies, saidِ study researcher Miriam Liss, a psychologist atِ the University ofِ Mary Washington inِ Virginia.
Philosophies of intensive parents
Intensive parenting isِ a style withِ threeِ main philosophies: That mothers areِ the bestِ possible people toِ care forِ their children, thatِ mothering shouldِ center aroundِ the child’s needs, andِ that children shouldِ beِ considered delightful andِ wholly fulfilling forِ parents.
Plenty ofِ interview-based studies haveِ foundِ that manyِ parents hold theseِ attitudes, Liss told LiveScience, butِ there isِ a lack ofِ hard data onِ the mental health effects.
She andِ her colleagues recruited 181 moms ofِ kids underِ age 5 toِ complete a series ofِ online questionnaires aboutِ their parenting attitudes, family support, life satisfaction andِ mental health.
Parenting and happiness
The results revealed thatِ three ofِ the fiveِ pinnacles ofِ intensive parenting areِ linked withِ nasty mental health effects.
Though relativelyِ fewِ women held theِ belief thatِ mothers areِ more important thanِ anyoneِ else inِ a child’s life, evenِ fathers, thoseِ who didِ hold theِ attitude wereِ lessِ satisfied withِ life, moreِ stressed andِ felt lessِ family support thanِ otherِ moms inِ the study.
Do you think moms are ultimately more important than dads?
The belief thatِ parenting isِ a great challenge wasِ alsoِ linked lessِ life satisfaction, asِ well asِ more depression andِ stress.
That oneِ isِ a strongly held belief, Liss said.
Women whoِ believed thatِ parenting shouldِ beِ child-centered alsoِ had reduced life satisfaction, Liss andِ her colleagues reported online June 30 inِ the Journal ofِ Child andِ Family Studies.
Pressures of parenting
The researchers can’tِ say forِ sure whetherِ theِ parenting causesِ the mental health problems, thoughِ manyِ of theِ links makeِ littleِ sense theِ otherِ way around, Liss noted.
There’s littleِ long-term data onِ whether intensive parenting isِ good orِ bad forِ kids, butِ plenty ofِ research hasِ shown thatِ havingِ a stressed orِ depressed mom isِ tough onِ children, Liss said.
Some ofِ the ideologies ofِ intensive parents, suchِ asِ the idea thatِ onlyِ mom canِ make herِ kids thrive, areِ appealing onِ their surface, Liss said.
Follow Stephanie Pappas on Twitter @sipappas or LiveScience @livescience.
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