The approach of Mother’s Day brings to mind the great parenting debate du jour and the very vocal public reaction to the tenets of the Tiger Mom—a style of mothering that pushes and presses children to achieve and won’t settle for second best. On the other side of the straight-laced Tiger Mom is the overly protective Helicopter Mom, who can’t help but want to shield her children from the world’s disappointments. Then there’s the Coach Mom; while not quite the drill sergeant, she wants her children to deal directly with problems that arise and provides practical guidance for addressing life’s frustrations.
Regardless of what adjective precedes “Mom,” a preponderance of social data demonstrates that a mother’s love and attention is an invaluable asset in the life of every child. While the mundane tasks of changing diapers, bandaging boo-boos, and acting as chauffer and chef might not seem like the most influential job, the selfless nurturing and timely insight of mothers can have a significant impact on their children.
And the benefits of mothers’ tireless care and counsel go beyond the lives of their own children. As data from Heritage’s FamilyFacts.org details, mothers—and fathers—can have a profound effect on civil society by helping to mold the next generation into healthy, well-adjusted adults.
Mothers’ involvement has been shown to influence a broad range of outcomes for adolescents. For example, teens whose parents are present when they wake up, come home from school, and go to bed are less likely to experience emotional distress, and those whose parents are more involved in their lives tend to have higher levels of self-esteem and self-control. Teens with greater parental involvement in their schooling are also more likely to graduate from high school and achieve higher levels of education. Finally, mothers’ investment in and communication with their children has been shown to have significant impact regarding risky behaviors ranging from sexual behavior to substance abuse.
So on this Mother’s Day, hats off to the broad array of moms for all they give throughout the lives of their children.