As early as 1 or 2 years of age, a child is building what is an “ideal” of mother based, in large part, by how her/his mother responds to them. This ideal of is based, in part, on what her/his mother is, other mothers the child comes in contact with, and what the child sees on the various media outlets through their preschool years. Because a child evaluates their mother according to their ideal, the more closely her/his mother approaches their ideal, the greater will be their love and respect for their mother and the more willing he/she will be to follow their mother’s guidance.
A number of research studies citing what American children think a mother should be have been conducted. The following qualities researchers found are a must for a mother. It is interesting what young children rate as their ideal mother and may be used as a measure a mother might wish to consider as they critique themselves:
1.Personal Attractiveness. Young children report that their mother does not necessarily have to be physically beautiful to make them proud of their mother. Child indicates they like their mother to practice good grooming, wear adult appropriate clothing, and be cheerful and friendly.
2.Be Age Appropriate. Despite what some women who are mothers may believe children do not want their mothers to fit in friends or peers age group. This is especially the case as children become teens. They want distinctions as children become tweens around 10 to 11 years of age. A child quickly becomes embarrassed and ashamed when their friends and peers make adverse remarks about their mother acting more like an older sister than a mother.
3.Dignity. Being silly trying to be like one of the gals or guys has been found to anger their daughter or son in unspeakable ways. Children report they want to look to the person they call “mom” and cannot do so when she brings herself to their level in her speech, dress, and actions before their friends and peers.
4.Understanding. Today even young children are under many pressures that today’s parents/caregivers never experienced growing up. Pressures to conform, to be popular with friends and peers, to make appropriate decisions about life and living are present. It is difficult to go to mother when she is no different than their child’s friends and peers. Children like to look up to the person they call “mom” for guidance and understanding for her age and life experiences. If mom is not equipped to help her daughter or son work through their personal and social issues how will she deal with these problems as they arise?
5.Empathy. Empathy is the ability to relate and understand another’s feelings and pain. Children as young as 9 years of age has been reported to look to their mothers for guidance—both genders. Daughters reported wanting to know what to do when having trouble with other girls and boys; bodily changes, feelings, emotions they express. Sons want to know how to approach a girl they like to talk to or why does a girl think like that? Act like that? Reject him and so forth. He, in most instances, will not want his dad to deal with these issues…it is mom!
Part II will continue these findings.