If you're a mother, you know all about mom shaming. Whether you're a celebrity or not, mom shaming happens every single day and most mothers have been the victim of it at one time or another. People love to comment on everything from how you feed your child to how you dress your child to what you choose to eat or drink when pregnant. There really is no topic that's off limits for the sanctimommies and mommy shamers who clearly parent so perfectly they feel the need to comment on how poorly others parent. Women have felt they've been unfairly targeted for their parenting choices over the years, but now it seems that they're not alone because dads are admitting that they, too, are subjected to daddy shaming.
In a new survey conducted by the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, over half of the fathers of children between the ages of newborn to 13 years old who were asked said they felt judged and criticized by their parenting choices. Fifty-two percent of fathers said they felt judged for their parenting choices, while 44% of them said that judgement came from the other parent! While that number may be a wake-up call for some, the fathers surveyed said grandparents and friends were also sources of the judgment they faced for their parenting choices. The dads did reveal that they also felt judgment from strangers either in public or online and healthcare professionals and teachers, but at a lower rate than from those they knew personally.
"Two years ago, we did a study on criticisms of mothers, and the results showed that there was a lot of criticism!" study author Sarah Clark told TODAY Parents. "Since that time, I’ve been interested in examining whether a similar situation exists with fathers." Clark's survey results have revealed a reaction by fathers that may shock many.
"A substantial number of fathers said that criticism has made them want to be less involved in parenting," she said. "I expected those feelings to be associated with the father’s age, race or income, but we did not find any of those differences. Instead, the strongest link was the source of the criticism."
Not surprisingly, 43% of fathers felt that the criticism was unfounded and unfair, and 90% of these dads felt like they were doing a good job being a father to their children. Almost half of the fathers responded to the criticism in a positive way, seeking to change how they parent, but almost 30% responded negatively, feeling less confident in their role as a father.
Mothers tend to feel they are the ones who are constantly shamed for all the parenting decisions they make, yet this survey shows that dads receive their fair amount of judgment too. Knowing that the other parent is the one making that judgment may be eye-opening for many mothers. "Before criticizing, consider the issue," Clark advised. "If the child’s health or safety is at stake, find a way to help that father learn more about why a change is needed. Absent a health or safety issue, try to remember that different is not necessarily wrong and that children benefit from engaged and involved fathers."