Are You Turning Into Your Mother? Science Says You're Not Alone

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According to EurekAlert, a new study out of Ohio State University claims that women tend to follow the parenting example of their own mothers more than men do, bringing into question how men actually learn how to parent.


"We were surprised that mothers seem to learn a lot about the parenting role from their own mothers, but fathers don't follow their mothers as much," says Jonathan Vespa, a co-author of the study, which focused on data collected from 1,133 young parents since 1973. Two surveys made up the overall study: the first followed younger parents in the 70s and 80s, and the second, which has followed the children of the original survey's mothers, tracking their behavioral patterns as they moved from the role of child to the role of parent in their own right.

Vespa says he's surprised that the young males surveyed don't seem to follow their mother's example, despite growing up in households where mothers did the majority of the child raising: "These fathers were growing up in 70s and 80s and received much of their parenting from their mothers," he says, "Although more women were entering the workforce then, they still did the lion's share of parenting and childcare."

I don't have any children, but I do notice that my sister tends to use similar techniques with her children that my mother used with us, growing up; namely that her voice becomes eerily identical to my mom's when someone needs a time out, and that she tends to use humor as a means to get her kids to admit that they've messed up a bit and need to fix things up. I also slip into "Mom Voice" whenever I'm with my niece alone—it's hilarious and terrifying at times, as you suddenly realize that perhaps you're putting on a facade of maternal strength and projecting that protective, no-nonsense exterior as a means to quell your own fears of being in charge of someone else's kid for a day.

So what say you, commenters? Do you feel that you tend to be more like your mother when it comes to parenting or watching other people's children? Do you notice that the men in your life act differently, or do you see some similarities between their style of watching/raising kids and that of their own mothers? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.

Mothers, But Not Fathers, Follow Their Own Mom's Parenting Practices [EurekAlert]



This makes sense. My mother, who lost her mother at age 12, knew exactly how to parent until I turned 12 - then she had no example to follow afterwards. It's the same experience with all of her sisters; they all knew what to do until they reached the age they had lost their mother. It didn't matter that my grandfather lived until their 40s, their parenting skills came directly from my grandmother.

It will be interesting to perhaps repeat this study in 20 years. Gender roles in the household have undergone a revision recently, and we won't see the effects for another generation or so.

(also, GO BUCKS!)