Gender difference in Parenting

Jodi - posted on 05/21/2011 ( 31 moms have responded )

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I have been involved in a bit of a debate in another community (some of you may have seen it) with respect to someone looking at moving 4,000 miles because her daughter's father is too much of a FUN daddy and not really good at keeping her on schedule, etc, and it would just be easier if he wasn't involved in her life regularly.



Sounds like my husband. And it pisses me off sometimes, but I would never consider that being a "bad" dad.



Anyway, I found this article, and am interested in the views of intelligent women such as yourselves (because I'm not getting much joy in the other debate) as to what YOU think.



http://edition.cnn.com/2007/HEALTH/paren...



The 'daddy' way: Celebrate parenting differences



It's right before bedtime and Sylvia is about to flip out about something -- that a page of her picture book is "broken" (read: torn, by her, days before) and that she can't have three more handfuls of popcorn after we said "one more."



Before I have a chance to ask, "What's wrong, Syl?" my husband walks up behind her, lifts her up into his arms, and carries her over his shoulder. "MAMA! NO! Mom-me-ee-ee!!!" she yells, upside down.



My eyes are shooting darts at Aron's back. By surprising her from behind, he's made it worse. He just barrels on in, not giving her a chance to calm down. Now she's never going to go to sleep. It's just so ...



And then, from upstairs, giggling. And then, the low murmur of story reading. And then, silence. And then a triumphant husband, breezing down the stairs, as if it were all a bunch of nothing. "What a sweetie she is," he says.



I learn this lesson at least once a week: I confuse Aron's parenting style with being "wrong." I apparently think, especially in my weaker moments, that he should do exactly as I do. But his way often works just as well as mine if not better.



And then I'm stuck in a brutal twist: If I thought he was wrong and his approach worked, does that mean he's right? And that would make me... Of course, this train of thought is likely to take me nowhere fast.



"It's not about copying your partner's style or his copying yours," says Rona Renner, host of the radio show Childhood Matters and a mom of four kids. "It's about appreciating the way he's different from you." So while we're not advising you to become clones of your partners, we do think dads often have some good tricks up their sleeves. Why not celebrate what they do right -- and maybe even try one of these tips yourself.



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The article actually continues to go through several examples of our differences in parenting, why and how to deal with it. But why is it that we expect our partners to parent the same as we do. There ARE things my husband does soemtimes that absolutely drive me around the bend (and up the creek), but I KNOW that this is just the way he thinks, and I cannot expect him to deal with it in the same way I do. It is really rather unfortunate that the minute a couple separate, suddenly he is expected to parent like a female or be classified as a "bad" father.......

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Tah - posted on 05/21/2011

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My husband is this fun daddy, and it does sometimes drive me to drink, but I don't think it's bad parenting, it's different and I think it balances me out. I may call from school or work and say " how did the kids do in practice?"...he'll say..."o, they didn't go, we went to the park and got ice cream"......I of course want to churn him in a pail with ice and salt when he does that, but I realized he was right. Their days are so structured, school, band, karate, homework, dinner, bath..etc that every now and then they need to run around and have some unstructured fun. I think a few things are paramount....1- we as moms relinquish some of the control we like to hold until our knuckles turn white, 2- we are on the same page about important things. 3- we encourage the relationship he has with his kids.

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~♥Little Miss - posted on 05/23/2011

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I cannot seem to edit my post now...seems like yet another glitch...but we share the same base values. The many different ways we teach them to our kids, shows them variety in living.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 05/23/2011

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For the most part, we have the same train of thought on what is right and wrong to do, just different ways of executing it. Fine by me! Give me another option of how to do the same thing to break up the boredom.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 05/23/2011

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I think having a good structure is important for the entire family, but parenting styles are different, because we are 2 different people. I do get annoyed when my husband sometimes does something differently than me...especially when my way has been proven to work ALL the time. But he shows me, there are many ways to do one thing. I think the diversity in our parenting is what is going to encourage my kids to be themselves, and not be afraid to try new things.

Jennie - posted on 05/23/2011

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My fiance and I, we parent the same, I think. Our youngest are 9 and 7 and we know what questions to answer. I usually say, if its something that is not usually asked, what did your father say? And he does the same. I do rationalize a little more than he does, when they seem to lose their patience, but he knows that and steps back. When he intervenes I step back. I am on the same page with him as he is with me. If he can manage to diffuse a situation that I cannot, I do not look at it as defeat, it is healthy co parenting. If this woman moves because she is upet how the dad parents, she will pay the consequences eventually.

Merry - posted on 05/22/2011

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Emma, hats funny, matt and I are debating the same topic right now!
(I think I'm winning :)

Stifler's - posted on 05/22/2011

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My husband and I have different parenting styles I guess, but we always stick together on the what is allowed and what is not. At the moment our debate is on whether or not milk is good for you so.... we are kind of immature but we never fight for real about Logan, just rib each other about things we do differently.

[deleted account]

My ex is most certainly the 'fun' one. He always has been... and, of course, the girls always listened to him way better than they listened to me. I never would've moved away from him though, but I didn't have to.....

[deleted account]

I refuse to talk to my ex unless i have to. I blew my mobile up last week so i had to talk to him today when he called as there is no other means of communication. When he rings i usually know it's just so he can talk to the kids and i don't answer i just let them do it.
Seriously though as much i would love to move thousands of miles away i could never do it. As much as i hate my ex the kids don't. They love him and they need him in their lives and i will do what i can to help accomodate that for them.

Elfrieda - posted on 05/21/2011

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There's definitely a difference between my husband and my parenting styles. We both agree on the big things, but he does things like flinging our son up in the air right before bed. If I did that, it would be playtime for another hour, but when he does it, my son feels all secure and just snuggles down to go to sleep.

I am the fun one in many ways, with the silliness and making faces, etc, but my son is basically a clone of his dad, in looks and in emotional needs, so my husband is really good at figuring out what he needs at a given moment. I really appreciate it.

Merry - posted on 05/21/2011

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Matt is for sure the fun one, he does the whole rile Eric up before bed time too sometimes, bugs me, but honestly it never really wrecks the night. He also does most everything as a game with Eric, diaper changes, getting dressed, eating etc.
It doesn't bother me that he does that but it does make me seem boring :(
So as for discipline we are both exactly the same, Eric listens better to me, but he will listen to matt too, just takes a bit more time.
I yell, Eric listens right away, matt yells Eric laughs, then listens eventually.
So in our house mom is mostly comfort and dad is fun. But mom is also the disciplinarian mostly....so it works and we are usually happy with the roles we carved out so far.

Sylvia - posted on 05/21/2011

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Yeah, my DH is the fun parent, too. (Although he's also the "scary" parent -- on the rare occasions he raises his voice, it makes a big impression on DD.) It used to drive me bananas when she was little, because I'd invest all this time and energy into getting her settled down for bedtime and then ...

TBH, the real, deep-down reason that certain aspects of DH's parenting style bother me is that they remind me of my own father A"H, who was great with little kids but a disaster as a parent because he would never sit down with my mom and decide on plans or house rules, would let us do whatever we wanted until the point when it started to piss him off and then freak out, etc. (It got worse after my parents' divorce, when he set out to cast her in the role of Bad Parent and to drive a wedge between siblings.) I have to keep reminding myself that just because DH has some things in common with my dad A"H, that doesn't mean I need to worry that he's a bad parent.

Because the thing is, DH is a *great* dad in a lot of ways. He's more patient than I am with homework. He's good at roughhousing. He takes DD places, they have common interests, he's affectionate and makes sure she knows Daddy loves her. when she was a baby, he wore her in a Snugli and gave her baths and rocked her and changed her diapers.

Lots of kids have two moms (or two dads) and do just fine. But even in those cases, both parents don't necessarily parent the same way! In a family with parents of both sexes, it's silly to expect that dads and moms will have exactly the same parenting style. And geez, what kind of mom doesn't want her child to have fun? :(

Lacye - posted on 05/21/2011

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I am the voice of authority in my house. My husband is the fun parent. It drives me nuts sometimes but in a way, it helps balance us out. I am also in the other debate Jodi and I completely agree with you. My husband's other daughter lives 3 and a half hours away and that's hard enough on him as it is. I can't imagine how he would be if she lived 4000 miles away. :(

[deleted account]

We are so different, sometimes i think i have some of this parenting that would be associated with his gender and he mine lol...we don't seem to butt heads so if its running smoothly, leave well alone lol.:-)

I have to say one thing.Hes getting so much better at dressing them.Doing there hair is okay if its just a clip in the hair.Anything else, you can forget about it.When i was in having my second baby girl.My oldest girl came to the hospital with two lovely french plats.I said to him when my girl wasn't listen, i know you did not do that lol..he took her to my sister before coming down as he wanted her to look so pretty and perfect for us..awww ♥

As the day before she came down, looking like no ones kid..hehehe

[deleted account]

Yeah, there are some things my husband does that drives me crazy...mostly because I'm left cleaning up the mess afterwards. Or because he allows chicken nuggets for breakfast and then dresses her in Christmas clothes in March. But he's building relationships with his daughters. So important. And that just melts my heart. I'll have to go find that thread...

[deleted account]

Oh goodness. I've been following that thread that you're talking about and it is a mess! I am just in shock that people think it's okay to essentially kidnap your child from the dad because he has a different parenting style! Crazy!!!

Anyway, I said it there and I'll say it here: you are one smart cookie Jodi and I REALLY wish those women would listen to you. Did you notice that the OP has only come back a few times and the last time she only addressed someone who agreed with her? It feels to me like she's already made up her mind and just wants reassurance... Goodness I hate those kind of posts... ::sigh:: that poor daddy :(

Jodi - posted on 05/21/2011

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I converted to brief and to-the-point text messages about 6 years ago.....we have only had about 2-3 phone conversations since then. It has its frustrations, but also relieves some of the stress.

I'm like you Tara, the intimidation in the voice phone calls. I prefer the texts, the letters, and the occasional email. It really is much easier once they are older to not have to communcate with them too much.

Tara - posted on 05/21/2011

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@Jenn, yea I know what you mean about keeping communication to typed words. I will only communicate with my ex through email, if we need to talk on the phone or in person, I do so quickly and as to the point as possible. He has a tendency to try to talk down to me, use his voice to intimidate me etc.. so after 10 years of dealing with that, I have the choice now. And I choose typed communications. As well I have a paper trail of everything said and arranged etc.

Jenn - posted on 05/21/2011

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Yes, it will be nice when my son is a bit older and he can take it upon himself to call his Dad and vice versa, so that I don't have to talk to the jerk. Although now thanks to Facebook, we don't usually talk much as we just send each other a message if we need to communicate; it cuts down on the BS that spews from his mouth. Although at the same time, having mutual friends on FB adds to my frustration when I have to see his crap in my newsfeed. Is there anything worse than seeing that Hulk Hogan holds more importance than your own son? :(

Jodi - posted on 05/21/2011

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But I am a BIG believe that we do parent to our gender, and also to our personality.

Jodi - posted on 05/21/2011

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Jenn, suprisingly enough, my son isn't too fussed. He's nearly 14 now, so he knows what he wants, and he has said he only wants to travel there half the school holiday (except summer, he really doesn't want to go there half the summer). So it's not complicated like it would be if he was 3 or 4.

Tara - posted on 05/21/2011

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Oh and further to that, as for moving 4000 miles away just cause your ex might be too much of a fun dad is ridonculous for sure. And unfair to your child. You (general you) might not like how fun he is etc. but to deny your child a relationship with their dad because of that is totally unfair to the kid and the dad.
What if the ex decided to move 4000 miles and take the kid because he thought you were not fun enough?

Tara - posted on 05/21/2011

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@Jenn, I couldn't imagine divorcing someone based solely on the fact we had different parenting styles either.
I think as long as both parents respect the others style of doing things and they remain united front and not a broken partnership. Kids can and do play one parent against the other when they know that mom and dad cannot stand united.

Jodi - posted on 05/21/2011

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Ah Jenn, there is hope yet. I would never move away from my ex, because I don't think he is a BAD dad (not a great one either, but hey, can't have everything) but guess what? 11 years in the making, and he is moving interstate next week......go figure. He's chasing the money. Obviously more important to him than his son. But anyway.

Jenn - posted on 05/21/2011

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I can't imagine getting a divorce based solely on the fact that we had different parenting styles or beliefs in what discipline should be - unless of course he thought that beating the kids = discipline, because that shit wouldn't fly. Anyway, I think for the most part you will find that due to the fact that all people are different, they will have different parenting styles and ideas on how to do things. I know Brian and I come from very different homes, and it reflects in some of our parenting choices, but we try to find the middle ground where possible. I do find that if Brian speaks up when the kids are misbehaving they do tend to listen more, because it isn't as often that he does so, so I think it's more of a shock to the kids, whereas they're used to hearing me beak off all the time that they've learned to block it out LOL! As for my ex (my son's father), he is definitely a "fun dad", because he only asks to see Phillip on average every 6-8 weeks - so for how little he sees him there really isn't much parenting going on but just a fun visit. I couldn't imagine moving 4000 miles away just because of that though - how is that fair to the child? Sometimes I wish that HE would move that far away just because he's a douche bag and a deadbeat who doesn't pay child support and doesn't show much interest in our son, but I don't think I'll ever be so lucky.

Mel - posted on 05/21/2011

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my husband raises his voice my daughetr listens and starts crying I raise my voice she doesn't listen. We both smack or use timeouts or take away proviledges however raising his voice definately works for him, just not for me. I don't like other people getting angry at my kid but when I do ti myself its ok so im kind of a hypocrite I thnk we;re both pretty equal in parenting to be honest I dont find he is too over the top, nor do I find he lets her get away with things which is good because we're on the same level. My mother had to divorce my dad because he believed in no sort of discipline whatsoever which ended a nearly 20 year marriage as soon as they had kids. I had to cut him out of our lives because he was disrupting us too due to his wraped views of discipline or lack there of. I dont think I could handle bieng with someone who had diffeent ways or was lacking in knowing how to discipline a child.

Tara - posted on 05/21/2011

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Steve is the calmer one in our house, we play off of each other nicely. We each have our own style of doing things, his works for him but I've tried his way and it doesn't work for me, my kids expect a certain "tude" from me. He can't do it my way, it doesn't come naturally to him.
I am more likely to "mini-lecture" my kids when I feel there has been a particular increase in behaviour I don't approve of, or a persistent lack of respect for rules etc. whereas Steve is more likely to state the obvious and move on. I like having the last word. ;) he doesn't care who has it as long as they get the point.

Now that said, my ex and I were complete polar opposites, he was a yeller, yelled about everything. I saved yelling for situations that really warranted it, it seemed to have more effect. And I could have been tolerant if it had worked, but all it did was cause everyone to tune him out, we didn't care what he was yelling about, no one could bother to listen to the actual words when we were being slaughtered with volume.
I just couldn't accept that as a good way to raise kids. And he wondered why they used to yell at each other for every little thing...
I think Dads get the short end of the shit stick when they get divorced or separated and sometimes within a marriage too. They are automatically put behind mom when it comes to parenting style. Society largely assumes that men are not that involved and defer to mom for parenting etc.
Dads and moms should be united, but their styles can be totally different as long as the goal is the same.
There is nothing more damaging to a marriage and a child/parent relationship than two parents who oppose each others parenting and cannot be united when dealing with their kids. It causes so much confusion and anxiety in kids. And a lot of resentment and anger in the adults.

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