Dad Helping with Kids? Moms: Expect conflict ,not cooperation(Time Magazine)

Reading the Parenting page on HuffPo I came across a very interesting article that addressed an issue many of us parents may be able to identify with.  That being sharing the duties of parenting "equally".   

Acham Lippoth-New York Times
Does "equal" mean 50/50?

The article originally written for Time magazine talks about the structure of the modern day family, quality of shared care giving, and the evolution of roles in today's family as  we see fathers become more involved. 

The article addressed a recent study that observed over 100 couples with children from the age of pre-school, again at 4 and  a year later.  The study found that conflict between couples was typically at its lowest when fathers relegated their activities to simply playing with the kids.... while stress and conflict seemed to escalate when fathers got more involved with day-to-day care giving like baths, meal preparation, etc.  

A lot of things can contribute to conflict and stresses when it comes to the day-to-day care giving, and even long term upbringing of a child.  Mark and Amy Vachon talk about the challenges of equal parenting in their book:

Task sharing is, in fact, a mere sliver of the greater goal of equality between two parents and a balanced life for each partner — something that must also include a vital but little discussed element: power-sharing. Sharing the vomit-cleaning and toilet-training duties while sticking with a mom-knows-best stance can lead to boss-subordinate dissatisfaction.

I agree with the writer that for some it's simply hard to break out of gender roles for some parents..... particularly if a parent grew up in a society or culture where a father seen  solely as a provider and the mother the nurturer/care-giver or another parent was raised in a single-parent household where one parent was the sole decision maker.   In cases like this.... it's important that parents iron out these issues prior to children even coming into the picture and  talk about expectations; the writer suggests pre-parental counseling.

Remember what's at stake
It's become quite apparent that we are in a new dawn of parenting... as the writer points out this is probably the first generation where dads are expected to be and are involved more than ever.  In an previous post I talked about how I am a an H.O.D.(Hand on Dad) and proud of it. I knew before my boys were even born that's how I was going to be.  I feel where we are today a father being very involved is more critical than ever.  Also as I look forward and see that I'm going to be raising my boys as a single-parent (at least for the near-term) it's important to the development of our boys that their mother and I work together to share the duties involved with raising them; to provide the stability and structure they need to thrive.

My advice to anyone who is planning on having kids or has them and wants to successfully be equally involved  and share parenting duties is to first-  Understand that the other parent isn't trying to undermine the other....but help you....    several factors contribute to how one parent views parenting duties differently than the other. Secondly,  remember what's at stake... your child(ren) , theres' always potential for conflict when you have two highly vested committed parents.... but sometimes you have to put aside your differences to move forward and later determining how you will deal with a similar situation.  Lastly.... don't take the term "equal" literally. Its simply impossible for parenting duties to ever be split 50/50 right down the middle.  Fathers can't breast-feed and most moms can't teach a 10 yr old how to throw a tight spiral.  Don't expect tit-for-tat... It simply doesn't work that way and you'll be setting yourself up for disappointment if you every believe it to.

Yes I am a very involved H.O.D... micro-manager? Maybe.  But I couldn't imagine being any other way.

Thanks for reading,

InvolvED Dad

Read more: http://healthland.time.com/2011/02/02/dad-helping-with-the-kids-moms-expect-conflict-not-cooperation/#ixzz1Kf40Jcfl


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Share & Enjoy

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More