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What Moms and Dads Do Differently—and Better—Than Each Other

What Moms and Dads Do Differently—and Better—Than Each Other

First, let me say happy belated Father’s Day.

Now let me ask you this. Why is it that most articles seem to revere a women’s natural ability to parent but categorize men as having few, if any, natural abilities to parent? Amber N. says, “ I’m really tired of moms talking about how crappy their men are.”

Last week there was a segment on The Today Show with Matt Lauer and Dr. Robyn Silverman titled, “Do Dads Make Better Parents Than Moms?”
 
I was offended! And not for the reason you think.

After hearing the title of the segment some moms would brush it off and say, “It was a Father’s Day segment, so of course they’d ask that.” Other moms might laugh and say, “Do dads make better parents than moms, you have to be kidding me!”

I was offended by the comparison. Why do we compare moms and dads? Why can’t we honor the fact that men and women each bring unique and helpful points of view to the job of parenting?

I would have liked to see The Today Show use a more equal segment title. One, that in my opinion, more aptly fits the reality of parenting. I would have liked to see a segment title like, “3 Things Dad Brings to Parenting that Rarely Get Noticed!”

That’s a title I would listen to. That title doesn’t pit one parent’s ability against the other. That title doesn’t create competition and comparison. I think there’s enough of that going on already!

Before anyone says I’m being unfair, let me qualify what I'm focusing on with this column.

I'm not ignoring the fact that there are situations where the workload in the home isn’t equal in any way. I'm also not ignoring the fact that divorce is prevalent, which means that the custodial parent has to do most of the parenting. Yes, these things happen—a lot.

I'm talking about the fact that both men and women have natural instincts that they unconsciously rely on when raising their children.

Males and females each bring a unique skill set to the job of parenting. Moms are primal nurturers. As women we use the emotional side of us to deal with our children. We help children work through things by talking about feelings. It’s natural for us. A man can do that too, but it’s just not as natural.

I believe that dads are primal hunter-gatherers. They use the logical side of their nature to teach children how to deal with the hard knocks of life. They teach kids how to brush things off and stand up and face life again. Yes, women can teach these things too, but we would automatically use the how-do-you-feel-about-that process, it’s our nature.  

Mr. Man (hubby) used to say, “I don’t mean to offend you, but sometimes you can’t coddle a child, you just have to tell it like it is, and help them get over it!” I always found that difficult and was grateful that he would do that.

Another thing Mr. Man would say to our sons was, “It’s my job to teach you to be a man.” When the kids were young that statement would offend my feminist and empowered sensibilities. I would think, “Wait a minute, anything you can do, I can do too!” Then I got it: I can’t teach my sons how to be a man—I’m a woman!

I could share my point of view about being a man, but I have no idea how to share it from a male’s perspective.

I can share, and did share, my point of view on how males and females relate, but again, that came from a female’s point of view. You catch my drift here. There are just some things a man has instinctual information about. And there some things a woman has instinctual information about. It’s just the way it is.

I’m hoping that the next time you’re around, or participating in, male bashing you’ll remember to make a distinction between what’s instinctual and what is a choice that the individual is making. After all, no one likes to be lumped into a category!

Sharon Silver is a parenting educator and the founder of Proactive Parenting. She's also the author of Stop Reacting and Start Responding: 108 Ways to Discipline Consciously and Become the Parent You Want to Be.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.

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RachaelTaylor70912 RachaelTaylor70912 4 years
I beleive that our society takes gender roles serioulsy. I do believe that there are things that men do better than women and vice versa, however if a couple (or non-couple) have a baby and they split up or live separetely and one parent is more involved then of course, they have to take on both roles. I disagree with the fact that it takes a man to teach a boy to become a man, nor does it necessarily require a woman to teach a girl to become a woman. Boys grow into men, girls grow into women. It is going to happen. However, when gender roles are placed the man and/or woman are teaching their little ones to be the kind of man or woman that they are. While if a single dad is raising a daughter or a single mom is rasing a son, they are teaching them to become the kind of man or woman they WANT to have. The kind of partner they are seeking. Single parenting a co-parenting raise totally different children. Both genders, though need the male and female outlook on "being a man" or "being a woman" They need to know what to expect, what not to expect, and how to be respectful of their partner, girlfriend, boyfriend, or spouse.
SarahThornhill SarahThornhill 4 years
Kids, not lisa...dumb auto spell :p
SarahThornhill SarahThornhill 4 years
I agree, but to a point. There seems to always be a strong parent, and a soft parent, not necessarily assigned to certain genders. Almost every family I've met, if the mother was stricter, the father was the fun parent that lisa didn't take seriously. If the father was the tough parent, then the mother was the sweet soft place to turn to. And then you have the parents who try really hard to be balanced, to be fair and kind AND strong. But one parent is usually better at it than the other. Lol but I don't think I have ever met a family where they're both strong (relationship fails for obvious reasons...) I have seen people who seem both soft and the kids rule the roost...point is, many different dynamics, but usually what works is opposites, and children benefit from that.
KateHarle KateHarle 4 years
In the words of a male friend of mine who was apparently discussing me and my parenting as a solo parent one day "she's one hell of a woman and more man than I could ever be". I am a woman, and up until a year ago I was a solo parent of three children all with different fathers. I am a mechanic by trade and a mum by design, I am a caregiver and a DIY queen, if I can't physically accomplish it then its probably just because my asthma slowed me down not because I am mentally incapable. The only thing I can't do is be a man. And I value the design differences. Ladies I firmly believe that we can do everything that a man can but we don't think like they do, we don't feel like they do, and our bodies are chemically different in ways which affect our emotions and our reactions. I have made space for my children to have male role models in their lives because there is without a doubt importance to men just as much as women in the role of parent. Neither of us is superior, we are equally different in our approaches. I was a solo parent, I know that my children gained many things from that experience and that I was a successful parent but I will never underestimate the value of good male role models and the nuances of life that they can teach.
Sarah1451 Sarah1451 4 years
I love this! Im going to share it with my husband. I think it's very accurate.
MartaJespersen MartaJespersen 4 years
"Moms are primal nurturers. As women we use the emotional side of us to deal with our children. We help children work through things by talking about feelings. It’s natural for us. A man can do that too, but it’s just not as natural. I believe that dads are primal hunter-gatherers. They use the logical side of their nature to teach children how to deal with the hard knocks of life. They teach kids how to brush things off and stand up and face life again. Yes, women can teach these things too, but we would automatically use the how-do-you-feel-about-that process, it’s our nature." Hmm, I disagree with this statement, at least on a personal level. I'm an intellectual type and so the whole touchy-feely thing escapes me; I'm very much so an "I don't care how it makes you feel, it [insert random chore/duty] needs to be done." type of person. My husband, on the other hand, is a much more emotional person--except in an argument we seem to switch personas--he explains things on an emotional level and he's very sentimental. I believe strongly in letting the kids cry it out if they have no reason for crying--dropping a lollypop is not a good enough reason to cry, so either calm down and get over it and ask for a new one or sit there and scream until you can't breath, you will eventually stop--whereas he's very much "Oh no sweety, you dropped your lolly, I'll get you a new one come see daddy and I'll give you a hug". I simply don't buy the gender stereotype.
KristinaStanford KristinaStanford 4 years
I would have to agree! I like how you put this article! It was not bashing anyone but it was simply telling the truth! Woman are born with a natural mother's instinct. If you're not a mother than you wouldn't know what that feels like so you can't say that you don't have it. Yes, there are mom's who are crazy and leave their families but there are also men who are crazy and leave their families! Not everyone fits into a cookie cutter! We are all different. The point of the article was to say that No parent is better than the other! I think it was well put!
annbeverly annbeverly 4 years
And to Amber N., if you're so tired of hearing from women how crappy their men are....stop listening.
annbeverly annbeverly 4 years
I think people need to stop bashing Moms, women period. It might not be good to coddle a child all the time, but as a mother, it is in our nature to nurture and rear children, we carry and birth them. Not to say men don't equally contribute and that their contributions aren't as valuable, but I'm tired of living in a man's world where women are being abused and bashed on every level. BE GRATEFUL FOR MOTHERS!!!! Without mothers there wouldn't be life. And I agree @Eva Demuynck it takes a village. And instead of pitting man against woman, or mother vs. father we should be working together to raise our children, but society sees it as our (the moms job) to raise children, and some men as well. I feeel like as long as a child is given love, and security, and stability...a child can be raised with two mothers, or two fathers..get over this gender crap, because it effects the one thing we're trying to protect ....the children.
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