Want to raise a successful daughter? This might be the key

Want to raise a successful daughter? This might be the key

Tiger moms may be on to something, at least according to new research that revealed mothers who set high standards and preach the value of hard work end up raising more successful daughters.

The study from the University of Essex in England found that teenage daughters of assertive moms were more likely to advance, compared to their peers who were raised by less strict parents.

“In many cases we succeeded in doing what we believed was more convenient for us, even when this was against our parents’ will,” said Ericka Rascon-Ramirez, lead researcher, in a press release. “But no matter how hard we tried to avoid our parents’ recommendations, it is likely that they ended up influencing, in a more subtle manner, choices that we had considered extremely personal.”

Researchers studied the lives of 13 and 14-year-old girls for over a decade. The results show that girls raised by strict mothers were:

  • less likely become pregnant as a teenager
  • more likely to attend college
  • more likely to earn more money
  • more likely to find a successful partner.

The study also found that having an assertive mom was particularly effective among the least academic teen girls, who often do not receive as much attention in school as their academically minded peers.

“What our parents expected about our school choices was very likely a major determinant of our decisions about conceiving a child or not during our teenage years,” said Rascon-Ramirez.

Sarah Katula, an advanced practice nurse specializing in psychiatry at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, Ill., says mothers who have clear expectations of their children are demonstrating responsible parenting and should not be viewed as “nags” or “pushy.”

“Mothers who demonstrate having goals, achieving them and taking care of themselves, while also expressing expectations for their daughter, will have better outcomes with their daughters because they have role modeled that success. Women who go to school, work and set goals will show a value set to their daughters that they often intrinsically think is ‘just what you do,’” says Katula.

However, if a teen develops anxiety, depression or starts acting out, those could be signs that they are feeling too much pressure and may need to reprioritize and possibly scale back their activities, says Katula.

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  1. Michael I. Ponticelli September 28, 2016 at 12:18 pm · Reply


  2. Interesting

  3. I think the quotation by the practitioner does not take into account the importance of mother’s who stay at home. It isn’t all about showing how much money a mother brings in or degrees she has in order to instill in her child the values and habits that breed success.

  4. Lisa Parro

    @Stephanie, No need to bring the so-called “mommy wars” into this. Neither this story nor the study it references differentiates between mothers who work outside the home vs. stay-at-home moms. Certainly the practitioner’s quote about “women who go to school, work and set goals” could apply to a mother regardless of whether she works outside the home because being at home is indeed work.
    Personally, as a working mother I am proud to serve as an example for both my son and my daughter and it’s has nothing to do with my paycheck or my degrees. I push my kids to set goals and achieve them just as my own mother did with me.

  5. As a working mom of 6 children, I found it much easier to influence my 3 daughters when I was a stay at home mom. I didn’t work when my 1st 2 daughters were in there teens & both grew into very successful young adults! Nown that I am working with my 3rd daughter in her teen years, it is a day to day struggle finding time with her & knowing what she is up to on a regular basis.
    She confides in others when I am not around. Usually peers with working mom’s. Leaving then to come to their own ideas, which makes me worry.

  6. Nice article Johnna! Very interesting! guess I did my job as a mom!

  7. Interesting

About the Author

Johnna Kelly
Johnna Kelly

Johnna Kelly, healthe news contributor, is a manager of public affairs and marketing at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn. She is a former newspaper reporter and spent nearly 10 years as a public relations professional working for state and county government. During her time as a communications staffer for the Illinois General Assembly, she was integral in drafting and passing legislation creating Andrea's Law, the nation's first murderer registry. In her spare time, she volunteers at a local homeless shelter, enjoys traveling, photography and watching the Chicago Bulls.