Parenting is definitely not just a mom’s job. While it is a common notion that mothers seem to slide into the role of parenting more naturally than fathers, kids need both the caring, nurturing style that moms can give and the challenging and practical parenting technique that is inherent to most fathers.
Moms and dads definitely have different styles when it comes to parenting, but this doesn’t mean that the other party is doing something wrong. As moms, we tend to compare how our partners do things with how we handle our children’s needs. But rather than trying to “perfect” our partner’s parenting ways, we should rather encourage and support them into being the best father they can be. In fact, we moms could learn a thing or two from our partners:
1. Challenging kids to be problem solvers
When our little ones seem to be struggling to put something together or if our tiny toddler suddenly falls down, moms often come to the rescue. But dad’s style is all about challenging our kids to cope with the real world and allowing them to work through their problems. There’s nothing wrong with helping our kids, of course, but there are times when dad’s way provides better opportunities for kids to learn to be on their own. Once in a while, it’s also rewarding to watch our little ones discover how to assemble their toys by themselves or seeing them get up and go. This way, our kids will learn to value their sense of accomplishment and independence.
2. Being spontaneous and fun
With all the responsibilities and multitasking demands of motherhood, having a proper routine and schedule often works for us.
Dads, on the other hand, are more spontaneous and flexible when it comes to parenting. They are more willing to let kids be messy at times, transforming a normally boring chore into play, or perhaps even allowing kids to extend their playtime once in a while and coming up with a “spur of the moment” kind of activity.
While routines and planned schedules are highly important, unplanned games, activities or even occasional breaks from the usual chores can allow moms and kids some time for fun as well. Learning from dads, it’s okay to act like a child at times and simply enjoy the moment.
3. Telling it like it is
Dads tend to be more direct when they talk to their kids. Sometimes, this may seem like they are being too tough and uncaring, but that’s just how dads are – they tell it like it is. Dads are more straightforward in explaining possible consequences, which teaches us moms to be firm when the situation calls for it.
4. Letting kids take risks
Moms can be overprotective at times, especially when their kids are just starting to explore. On the other hand, dads are risk-takers, in the sense that they let their kids try out a new activity because they see it as an opportunity to learn and build up their confidence – like trying to ride a bike for the first time or even climbing the stairs. While it’s important to take all the necessary precautions, allowing our kids space to explore and learn will be beneficial to their growth as well. It’s all a matter of being discerning when it’s okay to let go and allow them be on their own.
5. Trusting your partner’s instincts
As a first time mom, I remember those times I would (obsessively) check all sorts of parenting resources just to make sure I’m doing things right for my baby. When things go wrong, I tend to be hard on myself.
My husband, on the other hand, seemed more relaxed and contented to trust his instincts. To him, even if things are not perfect or accomplished by the book, as long as our child’s needs are met, then that’s enough for him.
Moms tend to be emotional when it comes to parenting, while dads are more rational. No matter what, it is important to have an appreciation of our different parenting styles and trust that we both know what’s best for our kids regardless of how we do it.
A father’s role in the lives of our children is truly essential to their well-being. As their partners, we need to be appreciative of how they fulfill their roles despite our differences. There’s so much to learn from each other -- what is important is that we work together for the sake of our children.
Balancing the Parenting Styles of Mothers and Fathers by Wayne Parker, About.com, Fatherhood