Throughout our years of experience with many kinds of families, we at Westchester Health realize that moms and dads often have different parenting styles and that in almost all cases, kids do just fine. In fact, they usually thrive with two different parental methods. To explain it more fully, here is a great blog on the topic by Rodd Stein, MD in our Westchester Health Pediatrics group.
Dads’ and moms’ parenting styles: different but equal
Here are 8 ways that fathers’ and mothers’ approaches to childrearing differ but can still result in a happy, healthy, confident child.
Dads can turn chores into playtime
What moms often see as repetitive routines (diaper changing, meal time, brushing teeth), dads often turn into a fun interlude. A diaper becomes a hat, a spoonful of strained carrots can be a choo-choo train, clean-up time can turn into a race. The tasks still get done but Dad has made them fun.
Not so quick to fix the problem
When a toddler falls down, moms often swoop in to pick him/her up and soothe. Dads do the opposite: they let the child get back on his/her own two feet, figure out what went wrong and continue on their way. By letting their children work through problems themselves, dads are teaching them resilience and “stick-to-it-tiveness,” which are very important qualities in life.
Use grown-up words
Men tend to speak to their kids as equals, using bigger words and less baby talk. They are more inclined to teach them independence and less inclined to coddle. They are also quicker to offer constructive criticism. By giving “straight talk,” they’re subtly teaching their kids the way the world works and how to navigate it.
Let kids take a risk
Dads are usually less overprotective than moms, allowing their kids to take risks, recognizing these as important steps in making their own way in the world.
Trust their gut
While moms have a tendency to seek guidance and advice on what to do and how to do it, dads tend to follow their instincts. From potty-training to bedtimes, dads go with what makes sense to them and what seems right for their child.
A lot of dads love to kid around. By being spontaneously silly and yet still keeping the house from falling apart, they’re teaching their children important lessons in balancing business with pleasure, chores with fun.
Pick their battles
With a headstrong toddler or preschooler (or teenager), it often feels like everything’s a fight. Dads tend to compromise, redirect the child’s attention or revisit what’s causing the tantrum at a later time. They often just seem to have an innate sense of what’s worth fighting over and what can be let go.
Don’t sweat the small stuff
Dads are notorious for not worrying about certain details like stripes with polka dots, purple hair and untied shoelaces…and in the great scheme of things, we think that’s perfectly okay. We see a lot of angry, depressed kids who resent being micromanaged when they would rather be allowed to express themselves in creative ways.
For more tips and advice on healthy ways to parent your child, come see us.
If you have questions about parenting styles or any other aspect of your child’s health, please call (914) 232-1919 to make an appointment with one of our Westchester Health pediatricians. Our #1 goal is to help you raise a happy, healthy child, and whether you’ve been with us for years or you’re a brand new parent, when you need us, we’re here for you.
To read Dr. Stein’s blog in full, click here.