Nagging Mamas Raise Successful Daughters, According to Science
If you grew up with your mother gently suggesting you finish your homework and the extra credit, urging you to finish up your chores and help your brother, encouraging you to run for student government and the varsity track team, and generally getting on your last nerve as a teenager, as an adult, you may want to write her a thank you note.
A study conducted by the University of Essex found that daughters whose mothers constantly nagged them during their adolescence were more likely to find success later in life than those with “cool” laid-back moms who let them stay out late on school nights.
The study looked at the lives of a whopping 15,500 girls between the ages of 13 and 14 over the course of six years. The researchers found that the young women with nagging parents (usually, moms) that stayed on top of them about chores, their school work, and family responsibilities found more success in life.
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“The measure of expectations in this study reflects a combination of aspirations and beliefs about the likelihood of attending higher education reported by the main parent, who, in the majority of cases, is the mother,” the study said. The girls were less likely to end up pregnant as teenagers, and thus more likely to go to college, more likely to end up in a high-paying career, and less likely to face prolonged periods of unemployment. All that success thanks to parents with consistent, high expectations. The study doesn’t say that you have license to nag your daughter to death, of course, but it does make it clear that children—or at least daughters—benefit from parents who set consistent expectations.
Another finding that could warm the hearts of exhausted parents everywhere is that it appears kids are listening even when you think they are not. “In many cases, we succeeded in doing what we believed was more convenient for us, even when this was against our parents’ will,” wrote the study’s author Ericka Rascon-Ramirez, now a professor at Middlesex University London, wrote. But no matter how hard we tried to avoid our parents’ recommendations, it is likely that they ended up influencing…choices.” That’s right, mom’s voice gets in their head whether they like it or not.
In other words, if your teenage daughter rolls her eyes at you, you may be doing this parenting thing right.