Parenting gender gap: How men and women differ as parents

Parenting gender gap: How men and women differ as parents

Experts weigh in on how moms and dads differ in their parenting styles based on established gender roles and expectations!

Boys and girls. They're as different as different as black and white...or are they?

When it comes to parenting, are gender roles really capable of shaping the very foundation by which a man and woman parent? In other words, do moms and dads differ in their parenting styles simply based on their gender? Do both genders offer a unique set of strength and weaknesses completely based upon their sex?
How men and women differ

Well according to a handful of parenting experts, yes. Moreover, these unique differences can have some interesting effects on your children.

Let's take a deeper look at the subtle approaches each gender takes in regards to a handful of topics:

Small details vs. The big picture

According to author of Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters, Dr. Meg Meeker, “Dads approach parenting with different priorities than we mothers do. They tend to care less about dress, eating habits, and other details. Instead, dads tend to want to play with kids more and challenge them more, and this can help kids gain confidence.”

From a stereotypical viewpoint, this seems to make sense. Generally speaking, mothers (due to their nurturing mentality) care about the finer details on a daily basis. Whereas dads will more likely look towards the big picture and a wide perspective.

This could also play into the common roles expected of each parent: moms as the nurturing caring type, fathers as the buddy-buddy or authoritarian type.

Check out more examples of how moms and dads differ in parenting styles by visiting page two for more!

Competition vs. Equity

In his book Why Children Need a Male and Female Parent, Glenn Stanton brings up the interesting point that men and women have some pretty different ideologies when it comes to playtime. Fathers tend to emphasize competition, while mothers emphasize equity. Both are important, and one without the other, Stanton argues, could be unhealthy in the long run for a child.

The competition and equity equation further sheds light on how experience shapes parenting. Men, who are taught to be competitive and take risks, teach their kids (both male and female) to take risks as well. Women are taught to protect themselves and treat others fairly, and pass this lesson on to children for safety reasons. With these two perspectives combined, kids can learn to be be competitive but fair, and take risks while understanding consequences.

How men and women differ

Nurture vs. Discipline

Probably the easiest dichotomy to shed light on is the idea of nurture vs. discipline. Specifically, how mothers display a nurturing mentality, and fathers are left to be considered the disciplinarian mentality. One reason for this stereotype could be the cautious approach mothers take when it comes to parenting. They tend to be more secure and prioritze comfort for their children.

Men, fathers rather, tend to be more abrasive in their parenting. Some argue that they adopt this mentality as a result of seeing their children being babied, or becoming "too soft" under the care of their mothers.

It should be noted that these roles could be completely switched and the same effect is very capable of occurring. Actually, the role of father as caretaker is beginning to increase as time passes. In any case, kids thrive when one parent provides support and the other provides discipline.


Emotion vs. Detachment

Just because women are more easily and commonly associated with emotions doesn't mean that dads don't show emotion towards their offspring. Quite the opposite is true. What is true is that women are more often seen displaying emotional attachment towards their children.

Some argue that the evident emotional attachment vs. detachment is only palpable due to the very different ways men and women communicate emotions (specifically love). Fathers are more brief and to the point, while moms tend to dig deeper. This doesn’t mean that moms are over-involved and dads under-involved, just that a parent’s experience and role in the family is likely to affect his or her ability to detach. Ideally, fathers could take some of the emotional weight off of moms, and moms would encourage this when given a chance to step back.


[H/T] The Huffington Post

READ: 5 Things dads should teach their daughters

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