Why is the mother always blamed when a child is brought up poorly?

No matter which part of the globe you live in, you will always find the society holding a mother responsible and accountable for a poorly raised child. However, the sad part is, this trend is not new; it has existed since time immemorial and far from letting itself out, it is only strengthening its grip by the day. Earlier, people unabashedly blamed mothers for every vice that their children inculcated; in the present day, they do the same but, only behind closed doors. Therefore, we must realize that the problem is still there but, only the means of putting it forward has changed.

Another interesting thing that you must have noticed is that whenever a child fares well or achieves something noteworthy, in most cases, the father is praised. The saying, then, suddenly transforms to “like father, like son/daughter”. Well, theoretically speaking, both parents have equal parts to play in shaping their child’s future; thus, from that standpoint, the judgment shouldn’t be biased. Nevertheless, this instinct to constantly denounce the mother for all the wrongdoings of her child has been explained scientifically.

Where does the problem lie?

Conditioning plays a major role in influencing the ways in which we perceive things. Keeping these last few years aside, we were somehow constantly “conditioned” to believe that mothers are obligated to look after the domestic matters while the fathers are essentially the bread-earners, meaning, their world lies beyond the constraints of the household. According to social psychologists, mothers are easy targets because they are sponges for guilt. A report has revealed that more than 63% of the mothers doubt their capabilities of being a good parent. In debates where the credibility of working mothers are weighed against their non-working counterparts, the conclusion stands at a point where it is implied that the former group fails to be there for their children all the time and the later, because of their faultless attendance are not respected. Hence, this constant pressure of balancing all the facets of life compels mothers to doubt themselves and sometimes, point a finger at others too.

Also, let’s not leave out patriarchy; it is very important to bear in mind that men or fathers shouldn’t be wholly criticized for the evils that this gender-bias has ensued. When the father and mother work together as a unit, that’s when the child finds a pillar of development to fall back on for his emotional wellbeing. Believe it or not, most kids perceive their fathers as an unparalleled source of mental and physical security. Moreover, children have an innate tendency of making their fathers proud in everything they do. Studies have asserted that youngsters, whose fathers have been encouraging and supportive throughout, have exhibited better signs of cognitive and social development.

Potential explanations

Nonetheless, the question is, if fathers are really viewed as the “caretakers” and “disciplinarians”, then why is it that the mother has to always receive the heat when a child exhibits a fault in one of these aspects? Let’s pause a bit and go back to the word “judgment” that we had mentioned before. A decent chunk of this mother-blaming stems from the severe judgment on the society’s part as soon as a mother either deviates or doesn’t comply with the expectations defined for an ideal and conventional mother. In the 20th century, psychology declared that under all circumstances, it is the mother who holds the key to embossing a dominant impact on her child’s developmental characteristics. You will be intrigued to know that this opinion was seconded by the stalwart of psychology, Sigmund Freud.

Since then, there has been a string of theories that elucidated that the mother was at the core of all her child’s problems. For instance, it is said that mothers who were either too cold and brutal with their children, or promoted homosexuality were impugned for their children’s autism. Similarly, had a mother been too sentimental with her child, people said that she did nothing but, deliberately ruined him/her. Nevertheless, the good news is, these bizarre backings have not only been flung away by most psychologists today but, they have also affirmed that the behavior of a child depends on factors that are social, biological, and genetic thereby, “technically” relieving the mother of the immense burden.

Furthermore, we cannot help but, address another problem here and that is the mother’s inclination to be over-zealous. On the other hand, it should be remembered that being over-zealous has a biological basis and a single gender or group cannot be imputed for that. Because she is the birth-giver, people presume that a mother has a wand of control in her hand and can move it any direction she pleases. The arrangement is inexplicable- the mother should mentor but, the father should influence, the mother should be there to make sure her child is happy but, cultivate independence too and lastly, the mother should buoy up the spirits but, not spoil her kid. It is principally this paradox of expectations that has open doors to the one-sided penchant of blaming.

The bottom line

Unfortunately, we live in a word where nobody wants to take responsibility but, change their surroundings and the environment they thrive in. If a child lags academically, the teacher is held liable, if a child causes a mishap at school his friends are blamed and so does the cycle continue. If somebody has to be at all held accountable for the child’s behavior or the kind of person he grows up to be then it should be both the parents. It is not that the parents lack love for their children or hold back something but, because sometimes their warnings do not come across as powerfully, children do not take them seriously and follow the path that they have outlined for themselves. If the incoherent disposition of a child largely originates from the shadow of one parent, the other person too should share the responsibility because even though the latter sensed the disparity, he/she didn’t do anything to break the pattern or wasn’t in a position to do so.


  1. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/you/article-413688/why-mothers-blame.html
  2. https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/parenting-truth-you-are-not-to-blame-for-your-childs-behavior/
  3. https://www.minnpost.com/second-opinion/2011/04/why-we-blame-parents-mostly-moms-whatever-ailing-their-kids/
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