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One in three mums fall out over raising children

Article By: Rachel Baker, News Editor

One in three mums fall out with someone over how to raise their children, with the biggest rows being over potty training, a study has revealed.

2,000 mums were surveyed for the study which found they had argued with close relatives, other mothers and even complete strangers following a comment or remark on how they should bring up their children. However, mums are most likely to fall out with their own mother followed by their partner, mother-in-law and friend.

Potty training was the topic most frequently rowed about, but behaviour, growth and their child’s eating and sleeping habits were other touchy subjects.

The mums revealed that over a quarter of them found the arguments so serious that they stopped talking to the other person and one in ten admitted it took them at least six months to be able to make up.

The top ten remarks that mums receive about their children are:

• Aren’t they tall/short

• When my child was that age, they were walking, talking etc

• Your child is very boisterous

• They should be talking more by now

• They should be sleeping through the night by now

• You shouldn’t give them a dummy

• They don’t eat very well, do they?

• They should be walking by now

• They should be crawling by now

• They should have given up their dummy by now

Emma Kenny, child psychologist and spokesperson for Pull-Ups, the potty training experts who commissioned the study, said: “For many mums it can be difficult to hear comments about how their child isn’t doing something by a certain age, or isn’t behaving in a certain way.

“Not only does it raise concerns that there might be something wrong, but it could also indirectly criticise the mother by implying that she isn’t doing a good enough job.

“It’s therefore not surprising to find out that so many mums have got into a row with someone after they have made an off-the-cuff remark about their offspring.

“Many of the comments will often come from other people comparing the child to their own, or someone else’s, but it’s important to remember than all youngsters develop at different speeds. For example, when it comes to potty training some children can be dry during the day at the age of two when others can be closer to four years of age. What’s normal for one child might be completely different for another.”

As well as highlighting the actual fall outs mums are having, the study also revealed mother-in-laws are the most common culprits for dishing out unwanted advice!

Some mums said they could take the comments on the chin, but one third admitted they get very defensive whenever someone says something about their child’s development. Sadly over half the mums were left feeling down and upset by the remarks with some feeling so troubled that they ended up speaking to a doctor or health visitor.

For further advice and information, visit

Image: Emma Kenny, child psychologist and spokesperson for Pull-Ups, courtesy of Pull-Ups


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