The Immutable Influence of Mothers

Here’s an agreeable way to usher in Mother’s Day: A study released by The University of Melbourne’s School of Behavioural Science shows that a significant number of college students consider their mothers to be the single most significant person in their lives. Out of a survey of university freshmen, 40% listed their moms as the most important and influential person they’d ever known, compared with 25% for fathers, 17% for romantic partners, 12% for friends, and 6% for siblings. According to U. Melbourne associate professor Jennifer Boldero:

Dads are important too, but for many generation Y people their mother remains the most important person …

Many parents think that once their children grow up and leave school, they do not have much of an influence.

This survey tells us that mothers are still clearly having an impact on their children well into adulthood.

On that note, Happy Mother’s Day to all the influential moms out there.


egretman

Hey, there should have been a picture with this post. Would have been much better.

Rachael

How exciting to see my university represented on the blog!

procrastinating_econ

True that mothers have a major influence on a childs development, but then how do you compare and measure this influence with that of bill payers i.e. Dads (at least in most cases until recently). Hypothetically, even if the Dads aren't around, but just pay for the childs expenses, Dads end up becoming very influential in the development of the child which is very hard to measure.

The fact that married women are shifting from male dependence and becoming more financially independent is a recent phenomenon.

I wonder whether there is a proper study done on which parent influences more on child development generally than this wishy-washy sloppy survey!

I suspect that influence depends on the individual circumstances (like finances) and with which parent does the child end up spending more time with until adolescent age.
My wild hunch is that in most cases it is the mother that ends up shaping the child more.

Happy mothers day!

Read more...

711buddha

I know several people that have lost their mothers in their youth. All of them have described it as very difficult and having a profound impact on them. Yet they are all relatively "normal" productive people.

I also know several people that lost their fathers. (Most often to divorce / abandonment) Without exception they are all screwed up.

I know its anecdotal, but I'd be curious to see what the real impact of single parent-ed-ness is, and what the difference between mother / father is. Measuring would be tricky. You could look at things like earnings, home ownership, educational attainment and so on. (traditional trappings of success.)

Interesting questions.

Rachael

Hey Blandy, I wonder how many other freaks there are logging on to this site from the libraries of UoM?

madcap

I think Cosby best summed it up (disregarding the Mencia controversy for the moment): http://youtube.com/watch?v=lCixAktGPlg

lady macleod

Thank you and I take my bow. I must a brilliant mother because my child is stellar! (see Mom smile)

RandyfromCanada

Happy mother's day to all moms and yes l would agree with mothers having more influence than fathers because mothers are there during the early years ...

RandyfromCanada

yes l agree aND a couple links ..maybe a guest mother could speak too........

procrastinating_econ

Can you post the original study rather than the newspaper article?? I don't know the study (cauz I haven't read it), but from the article it sounds rather foolish.

The title is "Study shows most can't get by without mum." And the study in question is a survey. I would like to think that most people on this blog don't need a survey to know that "most" children can't get by without a mother. But hey I could be wrong because this is freakonomics and anything goes here, right!

Please don't forget to bring in the guest mother for the next entry. Thanks.

DrJeffBR

This is one of the sillier posts I have seen on this blog. Everyone seems to make the assumption that people's reporting of who is the most important influence on their lives is actually the most important influence. Many of our cultures teach us that mothers are the most important influence in shaping us but there are few quality scientific studies (particularly ones that examine genetic influences) that clearly support that contention. The fact that people believe that mothers are the most important influence does not make it so.

mathking

Actually, as an educator I think it is actually quite valuable to find who people think influenced them the most. There is actually a lot of research in educational psychology showing that the opinions of the most influential people in a teenagers life matter a great deal in shaping their decision making. My next question would be how likely would a survey done at U.S. university be to replicate this data?

Also with completely anecdotal observations from my teaching career, I have seen plenty well adjusted kids without fathers in their lives and screwed up kids without mothers. It is pretty clear from both experience and research that kids with stable, healthy two parent families are at an advantage, but I don't think it is quite so clear that losing a particular parent is more life altering than another.

Blandy

"on 11 May 2007 at 9:46 pm # Rachael

How exciting to see my university represented on the blog! "

Snap!

mine too!

alteredreality

I believe the term "mother" is figurative in this case

frankenduf

didn't Freud prove this circa century ago?- cheers Moms! :)

teddyvb

I would guess that percentage would go down if you polled the upper-class. Freshmen are often homesick and nostalgic, but those feelings decrease as you develop an identity for yourself in your new environment.

egretman

Hey, there should have been a picture with this post. Would have been much better.

Rachael

How exciting to see my university represented on the blog!

procrastinating_econ

True that mothers have a major influence on a childs development, but then how do you compare and measure this influence with that of bill payers i.e. Dads (at least in most cases until recently). Hypothetically, even if the Dads aren't around, but just pay for the childs expenses, Dads end up becoming very influential in the development of the child which is very hard to measure.

The fact that married women are shifting from male dependence and becoming more financially independent is a recent phenomenon.

I wonder whether there is a proper study done on which parent influences more on child development generally than this wishy-washy sloppy survey!

I suspect that influence depends on the individual circumstances (like finances) and with which parent does the child end up spending more time with until adolescent age.
My wild hunch is that in most cases it is the mother that ends up shaping the child more.

Happy mothers day!

Read more...

711buddha

I know several people that have lost their mothers in their youth. All of them have described it as very difficult and having a profound impact on them. Yet they are all relatively "normal" productive people.

I also know several people that lost their fathers. (Most often to divorce / abandonment) Without exception they are all screwed up.

I know its anecdotal, but I'd be curious to see what the real impact of single parent-ed-ness is, and what the difference between mother / father is. Measuring would be tricky. You could look at things like earnings, home ownership, educational attainment and so on. (traditional trappings of success.)

Interesting questions.