Gender differences in Parenting
Raising a child is not as simple as it seems to be. One can’t just say that the child needs to get food or change. There is a lot more than the child needs from the parents. This is for sure one of the rewarding jobs, but it is not easy. It is one of the most difficult one. And how on parents, differs among the mother and the father. Our concern here is if fathers can be like mothers and care the child like a mother. And what are the differences between the two spouses when it comes to parenting (Burghes, 2003)
Parent’s beliefs and behaviors
A family is a starting unit and one of the most significant places from where children start developing different stereotypes, they make goals related to their lives and build a career path for themselves. Parents are a role model in this regard as their beliefs are mostly developed in the children. Both of them tend to have similar goals related to their career paths and the values developed by them are also the same (Bowlby, 2008).
Differences in career development
Those children who are more close to mothers are more likely to emphasize on the school and the values of education, have a self-concept higher than those who identify with fathers. They have higher expectancies from education. They tend to talk a lot with their mothers and more than their friends or peers (Jeremy, 2013).
Fathers, focus more on the career. The practical life of the child. They start training the child according to their career and value the professional goals rather than the educational goals. They create a sense of competition among their children, by making them aware of the challenges and competitors the child may encounter while he is in his professional career (Lamb, 2005).
Outgoing & Exploring
Mothers worry a lot even a small issue makes them concerned and worried about their child. Mothers mostly prefer that the child spends more and more time with her rather than playing out with friends and going on with new things and visiting new areas. They keep the child to the way things are going rather than experimenting and exploring about facts and figures. They want a father to be an assistant mom (Burghes, 2003).
Fathers tend to be more outgoing and agreeable rather than mothers. They indulge the child in the act rather than just seeing the act. They want the child to go for new things and play out rather than be at home and just keep talking. They also go out with the child, to the places the child may play and learn something more about the world. They want the child to go to the last limit (Bowlby, 2008).
For example, if a child is out playing, and jumping on the trampoline, mothers are most likely to say, “Be slow, don’t jump too high and watch out.” But a father in the same condition will say, “Jump as high you can and see how up you can go.” (Schneider, 2000).
Mothers are thought to be more nurturing towards the child rather than the father. But here a lot of other facts are also to be considered. If a child falls while playing, the mother rushes towards the child and soothes him as well as often starts crying herself as well if the child has hurt oneself. They want to be a peacemaker. And afterward, they are likely to ask child to stop playing and just sit in a room and take some rest (Lamb, 2005).
But fathers, try them to be disciplined child. They want to child to be a good one. In case, if the child falls while playing, some fathers may go and comfort them, but this is not for a long duration. And others just tell them to get up and get going. They don’t restrict the child to a four cornered area, they go beyond that four walls and make to a child to look out of those walls and learn from their mistakes (Jeremy, 2013).
Mostly, mothers argue that fathers are not paying much attention to the children and this is because they need some time off from the child care and also they want the father to give more time to the kids. But if mothers are not working, still they quarrel about these issues. In the other hand, fathers tend to have more working hours which gives them fewer hours to spend with the children.
In such cases, mostly fathers think that mothers are getting emotionally involved with the child and they should not worry about the child so much that even at work they keep calling and asking if the child was “OK” (Lamb, 2005).
Playing at home
Mothers also worry about the rough plays at home. When fathers play with the child and create a mess around, mothers tend to worry a lot about it. They think that fathers are making the child aggressive by such plays and over stimulating them. But fathers think it is not teaching them aggression but is making them learn the limits and have a control over their self. They teach the boys to be disciplined and not to kick or bite while a rough play (Burghes, 2003).
There are some other key points which will help in the identification of how fathers are different from mothers when it comes to parenting.
- Fathers feel that mothers are overprotective about things and get involved in something for no reason. They are of the view that mothers should not coddle a lot with the children but try to make them disciplined ones (Lamb, 2005).
- Mothers are more controlling. Even when the child and father are playing, or doing any chore together, mothers tend to come into that, they keep a check not only on the child but also on the father.
- Fathers tend to be too permissive or over-authoritative, and too strict. They feel that mothers are more uptight and less playful. The believe mothers are more concerned with the daily activities of parenting and not as tuned into the moment (Jeremy, 2013).
- Mothers resent both working outside the home and still having the full responsibility for planning, scheduling, and doing everything for their child’s daily care (Schneider, 2000).
- Mothers are much better at multitasking and fathers to seem to get over-involved with one activity to the exclusion of feeding, clothing, and picking up after the kids
- Mothers tend to be more authoritative (flexible) in parenting style and more emotionally responsive. Fathers seem to be more playful and less tuned in. They tend to be polarized in their parenting style either permissive or authoritarian. Mothers want fathers to be mature adults and an equal co-parent that they can count on not just a playmate for their child (Burghes, 2003).
Activity & Interaction
Mothers tend to interact in more caregiving situations, while fathers tend to play more particularly physical interactions like rolling on the floor, athletic activities, etc. (Schneider, 2000).
These physical interactions help better connect children to their own bodies, increase their coordination, prepare them for the possibility of involvement in sports while providing physical contact with their Daddy (Burghes, 2003).
Mothers tend to be more repetitive and frequently ask questions and explain what things are to her child. Fathers verbalize less, are more focused on doing things together and their verbal interactions are more directive. Fathers also tend to be more demanding when it comes to language than mothers (Jeremy, 2013).
Some researchers believe that having higher expectations better prepares children for settings outside the home and challenges them to work harder at articulating their wants and needs more effectively (Burghes, 2003).
Patience with dependent behaviors
Fathers are less patient with children’s dependent behaviors (crying out for help with things they can already do, etc.), especially with their sons.
If done in a healthy manner, could significantly contribute to developing the child’s sense of independence and prepare them for separation from their parents (Jeremy, 2013).
Fathers tend to demonstrate more unconventional behaviors (such as teasing, joking around, more slapstick-type humor, etc.) than others. Fathers’ behavior with children is less predictable (Schneider, 2000).
This has the advantage of mixing things up for the child, better preparing them once again for the outside world where things are not as predictable as they can be at home (Bowlby, 2008).
Ultimately, one’s beliefs affect one’s behaviors, which in turn influence children’s development of self-concept, interests, and career goals. Parents beliefs affect the way they explain their children’s successes, how they react emotionally to their children’s achievements, the value they place on their children’s accomplishments in certain activities (such as sports, math, or dance), and the activities, toys, and experiences one chooses for one’s children.
Bowlby, J., (2008). Attachment and Loss: (Vol 1). New York: Basic Books.
Burghes, L., (2003). Fathers and Fatherhood. London: Family Policy Studies Centre.
Jeremy, G. (2013). Retrieved from http://jgs.net/books/hey-dads-you-matter/fathers-are-not-like-
mothers-but-together-they-make-a-great-team/ on 28th November, 2015.
Lamb, M. (2005). Developmental Psychology. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Parke, R.D., (2005). Fatherhood, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press
Pruett, K., (1999). The Nurturing Father. New York: Warner Books.
Schneider, M. (2000). Retrieved from http://www.today.com/parents/gender-wars-men-women-
parenting-2D80556388 on 28th November 2015.
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