MORE than half of new UK mums feel pressure to help their children achieve significant milestones early on in their lives – to prevent other mothers from ‘judging them’, a UK report* has revealed.
The study found millions of mums push their kids to reach certain milestones as quickly as possible in a bid to fend off what is seen as criticism from friends or family who have children of their own, with potty training topping the list.
One in six said they even feel pressure from complete strangers who make comments about their child’s development and behaviour.
It also emerged that three quarters of mums admitted they found parents competitive over whose child reached significant milestones first with more than half of mums admitted feeling ‘uneasy’ when they were confronted by others over whether their children had done something or not.
The issue emerged following a report carried out among 2,000 mums with children under seven by the potty training experts, PULL-UPS®.
Yesterday, Adam Solymos, brand manager for PULL-UPS®,, said: “It is not surprising given the considerable number of challenges mums and dads face everyday that parents feel under pressure for their children to reach certain milestones as soon as possible. However, it is important to remember that all children develop differently and that parents and children have to embark on achieving significant milestones when they feel ready.”
One in five said that talking to other mums immediately makes them feel competitive about their children and pressured into making them reach key milestones earlier.
Most mums agreed that the majority of pressure comes from family members and friends, but also acknowledged that acquaintances, other mums and even their partners had made them despair at times.
The pressure to get children potty trained and to sleep through the night were the two milestones that mums got the most competitive about and one in ten mums admitted they had been ‘really pushy’ with their child to make sure they could do certain things.
A similar amount have even lied and said their child had done something when they hadn’t because they felt so uncomfortable about how their child was developing.
A third of mums say they actively try and avoid some playground mums because of their competitive behaviour and 60 per cent said the pressure they felt from other mums made them angry.
A lot of mums said that the pressure people placed on them made them feel like they were doing something wrong and more than half said they found themselves worrying after seeing children of a similar age developing quicker than their own child.
Child psychologist, Emma Kenny, said: “Infants, just like adults, are individuals who all experience their worlds in their own unique way. Whilst some infants seem to effortlessly achieve each milestone others will take longer, which is completely normal as these are stereotypes of development, not absolutes.
“Any mums worried about other peoples parenting skills being better than their own should take a moment to look at it from their child’s perspective, if your infant is smiling, laughing and secure then you are doing an excellent job.”
When it came to who pushed their child the most, mums agreed that they were more likely to encourage and push their children to reach the next stage of development than dads were.
Working mums also felt they got judged more because they had jobs, particularly by mother’s who don’t work.
TOP TEN LIST OF MILESTONES MUMS FEEL PRESSURE TO ACHIEVE:
- Potty trained
- Sleeping through the night
- Staying dry through the night
- Eating solids
- Counting to ten
- Making friends