The sins of the mothers

Sydney Morning Herald 15 September 2008

When Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton and Britney Spears ran amok, the public blamed their mothers. Their fathers – Lohan’s had served time in jail and had addiction problems – escaped rebuke entirely. Now an Australian study provides some evidence that bad mothering has a worse effect on children than bad fathering. It shows that mothers who exhibit “toxic” behaviours – from being cold and indifferent to being abusive, manipulative or over-controlling – are far more likely to warp their children’s outlook on life than fathers with similar behaviour.

Wayne Warburton, a research fellow at Macquarie University’s Children and Families Research Centre, said: “Mothers have a really powerful effect on the way their kids view the world and themselves, probably because kids spend more time with their mothers, especially in the crucial early years.”