Now that Mother’s Day is over, it’s time to get back to blaming mom.
While this might seem harsh, research indicates it may actually be justified: according to experts, “the way mothers talk to their children at a young age influences their social skills later in childhood.”
In other words, children of mothers who explain things – specifically other people’s feelings, beliefs, wants and intentions – are better off socially than those whose mothers dismiss their budding curiosity with “Because,” “Because I said so!” or “Because if you ask me again you’re going to bed for the rest of the day!”
Not that being more socially advanced is the key to a trouble-free childhood – researchers pointed out that kids who are more comfortable and confident expressing their emotions and opinions are much more likely to actually express their emotions and opinions, usually in complex and sophisticated ways, especially when they are contrary to yours.
But while some authority figures might consider this “bad,” “inappropriate” or a reason for detention and/or counseling, researchers downplayed this implication and pointed out that, in a perverse way, these bile-filled diatribes are actually a good sign. And that when a teenager erupts in rage and frustration and screams “You disgust me!” “You’re the worst parent ever!” or “I have complete and utter contempt for everything you stand for,” it’s not proof he or she is possessed, it’s proof mom created exactly the kind of positive, loving, supportive environment her child needed to feel comfortable acting like an ungrateful little shit.
FATHER: Why are you crying?
MOTHER: Because Junior just told me he hates me.
MOTHER: No, it’s fine. I’m not crying because I’m sad, I’m crying because now I know I’ve raised him right.
MOTHER: According to experts, his ability to express himself with confidence and authority proves I’m a good mother.
FATHER: Was there something on Oprah I should know about?
MOTHER: Just hold me.
If mom gets the credit, however, she also gets the blame. Which means that when a child is sullen, moody and silent, it’s probably because mom messed up years or even decades ago, and can now add that to the long list of things she feels guilty about but can never make up for, no matter how hard she tries.
MOTHER: My kids are grown, so what am I supposed to do now? Go back in time and try to explain everything to them more thoroughly?
PSYCHOLOGIST: Is that something you can do?
PSYCHOLOGIST: Go back in time?
MOTHER: Of course not.
PSYCHOLOGIST: So that’s the problem: you need to go back in time to save your children but you can’t.
PSYCHOLOGIST: And who do you need to save them from? A terminator?
PSYCHOLOGIST: Or maybe aliens?
MOTHER: I can’t talk to you.
PSYCHOLOGIST: Why? Are the aliens monitoring us?
Before us Dads get all superior and start pointing fingers, we should keep in mind that researches were only able to study the relationship between mothers and their offspring because fathers and their offspring didn’t spend enough time together to make enough of an impact, leading many to conclude that if we’re going to blame anyone because Junior is socially inept, we should probably blame dad, too.
Though not until after Father’s Day.