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How to offend moms and alienate people

How to offend moms and alienate people



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SALT LAKE CITY — It turns out a fast way to a cold shoulder — at least within a group of moms — could be sharing your opinion, even among friends.

A new study of 2,000 mothers found that one in three mothers have argued with someone about how to raise their children. And almost a quarter have felt so strongly about the situation that they are no longer speaking with the offender.

Judgmental moms are nothing new: women pass judgment on other mothers for everything from how they deal with bullying to how they do their child's hair. Some parents are criticized for giving their child a pacifier, and others get a sideways glance for taking it away too early.

Judgment happens on everything from whether a mom decides to breastfeed to whether she works outside of the home. One survey found that nearly 90 percent of moms admit to judging other moms, with the biggest reason being simply that "her kid is a brat."

So it's no surprise that the new study, commissioned by Pull-Ups, found that while most moms will acknowledge judging other parenting behavior, they don't want to accept judgment, themselves. And when they feel judged, they get angry.

One-third of mothers reported getting defensive when questioned about their child's development — even when the question was not meant to be judgmental. Mothers may feel their answer to a seemingly innocent question will lead to a judgmental response, even if the question is something as simple as, "Isn't she a tall little girl?"


One survey found that nearly 90 percent of moms admit to judging other moms, with the biggest reason being simply that "her kid is a brat."

Fifty-six percent of mothers reported feeling upset by remarks made about their child, with some being bothered enough that they asked a doctor about the potential problem.

The most offensive comments were found to be comments on a child being tall or short compared to other children, the study found. Other topics that offended moms included:

  • Comparing her child's development to that of your child: "When my child was that age, she was already potty trained," or similar statements caused a lot of grief.
  • Commenting on a child's behavior: Isn't he a hyper one?"
  • Implying a developmental issue: "She should be walking by now" or "He's not sleeping through the night, yet?" and similar statements troubled many mothers.
  • Attacking the pacifier: "You shouldn't give him a pacifier," or statements implying a child was too old for a pacifier, caused grief among moms.

The study also found that mothers-in-law are the most common culprits, followed closely by the mom's own mother.

Doctors and psychologists urge parents to remember that what is "normal" for one child may not be normal for another — but if a parent is truly concerned, a question at a check-up may be worth the peace of mind.

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Stephanie Grimes

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