Should “Over-mothering” Be a Factor in Deciding Custody?

over-mothering

Is there such a thing as “over-mothering” and Should a woman lose custody of her kids because she is guilty of over-mothering?

The reason this question even comes up is because sometime back, we were discussing a photograph of a celebrity mom who was taking her youngster to kindergarten.

In one of the photos, the mom can be seen being, what I would describe as overly solicitous to the child, practically doing a curtesy, as if the child were the King of England. It was so over the top and so overly loving (if that is even possible) that it made me think that maybe some people could actually “over-mother” their kids. And that this could actually be a negative for that child. Indeed, it could be a reverse form of child abuse which could be just as damaging to the child’s psyche!

Is it in the best interest of a child to award custody to a mother who “over-mothers” and smothers this child with love, attention and indulgences? I don’t know. Mothers love their children and it is not in my place to say how much mothering is too much mothering.

When does love turn into “over-mothering”? It is hard to say.

I do believe in discipline and I do believe having limits that are clear for the child(ren) and I do believe that as the adult, the parent should maintain a certain level of authority and distance in order to instill a sense of hierarchy in the relationship between parent and child. You are not your child’s friend, maid or their subordinate. And this needs to be clear for all parties at all times.

Otherwise, I think you run the risk of your children becoming little mini terrorists in your home who just usurp your authority and grow into spoiled little brats who are a menace to everyone they come into contact with.

So on a certain level, maybe I do agree that over-mothering is a big problem and could be a reason for a mother to lose custody of her children because if she can’t set those boundaries, then it just is not good for the child.

Ditto for over-fathering, by the way, although I think that is less of a problem than over-mothering might be.

image credit

Author: Melody Thomas

I am interested in parenting as an art and as a science. I also like to follow the lives of famous parents in the public eye. For Divorce Saloon I usually contribute articles on parenting topics.