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Discover 3 Cool Reasons Why Dads Matter
Here’s a slightly uncomfortable belief: dads matter because men are different from women.
That said, father not mother-and vice versa of course!
I have found that friends and neighbors sometimes become concerned when I share that observation.
There are some obvious reasons for this – so much of our recent gender history in the West has been about making sure that men and women are treated as equals.
Talking about differences stirs the pot a bit, and threatens to be a return to a culture that enforces more restrictive and harmful gender roles.
So it is good to remember that being equal does not mean that we are necessarily the same, although we are entitled to the same rights.
And different is neither better nor worse. It’s… well… different.
The Gifts of Being Different
Many native, earthly cultures already know this: they have a deep appreciation for the complementary gifts of boys and girls, of men and women, of fathers and mothers.
These cultures believe that all aspects of life must be balanced, and balance is achieved in part by recognizing, honoring and celebrating our differences.
They also have a deep understanding of what those differences are and how they affect our relationship to our children.
We all get this at some level. In fact, soon after we are born, we know that mom and dad are different: an 8-week-old baby can tell that mom and dad have different ways of dealing with life, other adults and children.
“A father, as a male biological parent, brings unique contributions to the job of parenting a child that no one else can replicate,” says child psychiatrist Kyle Pruett, author of Fatherneed: Why Father Care Is as Essential as Mother Care for Your Child. .
Understanding what some of these differences are can help us dads fully embrace our power, and appreciate our crucial role in nurturing our children.
Here are some of our special contributions as dads, in no particular order:
We worry, fall and get physical
We have a gift for engaging our children in physical activities that are a little edgy.
Whether it’s a frenzy of tickling, wrestling or running down hills, dads tend to get into rough, dynamic, lively and loud activities.
“In infants and toddlers, fathers’ signature style of interaction is physical play, which is characterized by excitement, excitement and unpredictability,” says Ross Parke, a psychologist who asked mothers and fathers in 390 families to describe in detail how they played with their children. . children
OK. ok But what good is full-contact play?
A lot, it seems. Rough and tumble play affects a child’s ability to control her emotions and behavior.
Children who play a lot with their fathers have lower risk behaviors. They learn how to read social cues, regulate their emotions, stay within limits and take “manageable” risks.
A child who is able to read social cues and track their feelings also makes a good friend, someone who is more likely to be cooperative and peaceful.
We focus on agreements and rules
Can you see yourself asking your child what the deal was? Turns out on average we are more rules than mothers.
We have a certain way of setting boundaries and holding our children accountable.
We emphasize fairness, justice and duty, while moms tend to focus more on sympathy, care and help, according to gender psychologist Carol Gilligan.
Dads often observe and enforce rules systematically and strictly. This teaches our child objectivity and consequences of right and wrong.
Moms tend to be more flexible, meeting a wild, boundary-breaking child with more grace and sympathy that gives a sense of hope.
“Fathers tend to be more willing than mothers to confront their children and enforce discipline, leaving their children with the impression that they actually have more authority,” write psychologists Marsha Kline Pruett and Kyle Pruett in Partnership Parenting.
We talk like we always do
While mothers will simplify their words and speak at the child’s level, men tend to speak to their child as they normally do.
Mom’s manner facilitates instant communication.
Dad’s way extends the child’s use of words – an important skill for connecting with other people and doing well in school.
The differences between moms and dads are trends and generalizations found through a lot of qualitative research. They could change from one culture to another.
So how true do they seem to YOU? Do you recognize yourself in this characterization, or does it seem foreign to you?
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