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Mother Blame

  • By: Paula J. Caplan
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

The blaming of mothers for virtually anything that goes wrong with their young or adult offspring, as well as for a host of societal ills such as juvenile delinquency and teenage pregnancy, has been described as similar to air pollution: it is pervasive but unnoticeable until one's attention is drawn to it or the environment changes.

Revealing the Roots of Mother Blame

Mother blame may seem to make sense, since in contrast to fathers, mothers are still generally expected to do the lion's share of child rearing and childcare. Societal pressures on mothers to be the ones to take children to doctors and therapists render them disproportionately available for scrutiny by clinicians and researchers, and thus more likely than anyone else to be blamed for their ...

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