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.