When it comes to parenting, moms and dads do it differently. But is one approach better than the other?
How to parent more like a man: Parenting lessons from dads
1) Be flexible and fun
Men tend to approach physical care of their children with a more relaxed attitude often leading to a more fun and playful parenting experience. Fathers don’t get as upset if the kids are in bed an hour after “bed time” or if they skip nightly bath time every once in a while.
Women can learn to loosen up on rules in the name of fun.
2) Expect child to listen the first time
When Dad’s ask for their child to do something, they expect more immediate compliance and lose their patience quickly. Moms often wear themselves out trying to be a “nice” parent.
Moms can learn learn to hold their ground and not ask a child to do something 20 times before there are consequences.
3) Keep it simple
When planning events like family outings, birthday parties, or even packing lunch, mom’s tend to set high expectations and get overwhelmed by the details. Dads are generally better at seeing the “big picture” and focusing on the necessities.
Women can learn to minimize stress by focusing on the basics instead of being overwhelmed by details.
4) Move on after making mistakes
Dads seem to be better at moving on and not feeling guilty for imperfections like missing the deadline for a sporting event sign up or forgetting to take their child to a birthday party. Men also tend to care less what other parents are thinking about them.
Women can learn to skip self-loathing and guilt trips and quickly move on after making parenting mistakes.
5) See your child as separate
If a child throws a tantrum in a restaurant, forgets to do their homework, or misbehaves at school dad’s generally don’t blame themselves, feel a failure, or ruminate about it for days.
Women can learn from men not to take their child’s behavior too personally.
6) Don’t give in to whining
Dads are generally better at holding their ground when they say “no” to their child’s request to buy a toy at the store, or go play with a friend before doing homework, for example.
Women can learn from men to stand their ground and not change their mind just because a child is upset.
(Reposted from Sept. 2011)
As with the past 10 years, this upcoming September 11th marks the anniversary of the horrific attacks on the World Trade Center. Many of us can still vividly recall exactly what we were doing at the moment this occurred. For me, I was awakened at 5:45 am with a phone call from my mother telling me to turn on my TV immediately. I watched CNN and saw the second airplane hit the building on live television. I watched the towers crumble and our world as we knew it forever change. I was living alone in Los Angeles and that day, the whole city shut down out of fear that we would be the next target.
1. Understand the Problem
Is there a specific reason that she is being difficult? Most people have a reason and aren’t just difficult to be difficult. Your mother-in-law might be feeling less important. You just took her baby boy! You’re now the number one woman in his life, not her and she may not be quite used to that. It’s difficult for mothers to stand back sometimes and learn to be second.
2. Take a Different Perspective
Honestly think about what it is she might be feeling right now. Perspective is how we view the world, so what happens when you try to take someone else’s perspective? Put yourself in her shoes. Your understanding might become different.
Well-meaning moms, trying to do too much, may be at risk for anxiety and depression. Therapist, Julie Hanks, says intense, overly involved parenting can backfire. She has tips to help moms lighten up and live happy.
There is a paradox when it comes to parenting. Parenting is considered one of the most rewarding and fulfilling experiences in life, yet it is also linked with increased stress, unhappiness, and depression. A recent study published in The Journal of Child and Family Studies suggests that it is the level of intensity with which you parent, not simply being a parent that leads to more stress, less life satisfaction, and more depression. In this study, 5 “intense mothering beliefs” were identified and correlated with unhappiness for moms with young children. Ironically, many of these intense beliefs are how we currently define “good mothering.” This research suggests that moderation in parenting is needed, even when it comes to being a mom.
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It’s estimated that 70-90 percent of parents spank their children, according to Dr. George Holden of Southern Methodist University; in spite of the mounting volume of compelling research that shows physical punishment in all forms is not an effective solution for behavior problems. Spanking and other physical punishment has many unintended negative effects, including poor mental health.
I recently chatted with Nicole Carpenter, founder of MomEntity.com, about ways moms can scale back the number of family activities and prioritize what’s really important. Here are a few of my helpful tips and quotes from the article.
“When moms are frazzled and over-scheduled, the first thing to be neglected is personal self-care — sleep, healthy eating, exercise or meditation/prayer. Moms who neglect their personal needs for a long period of time lead to exhaustion, irritability and impatience with family members.”
“Saying ‘no’ is also important to mother’s mental health. Research published in the Journal of child and Family Studies last month suggests that mothers with an intense parenting style have poorer mental health than mothers with a more laid-back parenting approach. One characteristic of intense parenting is the belief that good moms are always providing stimulation for their children, and I think that belief leads many moms to take on more and more commitments and activities.”
A new study from Indiana University suggests television can decrease a child’s self-esteem. The study found this to be true especially with white girls or African-American girls and boys. The opposite was found to be true for white boys. A large amount of children spend their time in front of the TV instead of turning to different activities. The study stated the reason behind the decrease in self-esteem is children end up comparing themselves to the images and people they see on TV.
TV these days typically depicts white males in positions of power with important jobs and a glamorous lifestyle. Females are depicted in a completely different way where they have more simple lifestyles and tend to have more sexualized images. Messages to females often have the theme “you are what you are because of how you look.” Black males are often seen as the criminals.
These images decrease self-esteem because children get the idea they really have nothing to aspire to. To children, TV is reality. A counter argument was made that these images and messages were available on other forms of media as well but the study found the majority of kid’s media usage today is still the TV.
Here are a few tips to counteract the negative effects of TV.
- Limit the amount of time spent watching TV – especially when the kids are out of school.
- Watch TV together, as family time. When these types of images come up, it can stimulate conversation about what is real life vs. TV life.
- Avoid the TV altogether! It’s summer! Take advantage of the opportunity to spend time together doing other activities besides watching TV
- Involve kids in wholesome activities promoting positive messages like Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, or the YMCA and just spend more time together as a family.
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The other day, a recently remarried friend commented,“I can’t seem to do anything right when it comes to parenting my spouse’s teenage kids.” This friend is finding step-parenting much more challenging than expected. If you are facing a similar difficulties in your family, it is important to realize you are not alone. Did you know that over half of the families in the United States today are blended families and millions of parents are facing the challenge of step-parenting? Here are a few ideas that may make the transition to step-parenting a little smoother:
First, take it slow. Don’t blame yourself if everything doesn’t go according to plan. Remember, there is no such thing as “instant love.” Love grows slowly over time so expect some rejection initially and try to keep a sense of humor.
Second, whenever possible, let the child’s biological parent do the disciplining. A step-parent’s role in the family with teenagers can be that of a role model, a mentor, and a friend. Work together with your spouse to decide house rules and to create structure at home; this will help you maintain a united front.
Finally, continue to strengthen your marriage. Over time, your love and commitment to your spouse will create security in the lives of your step-children. Keep your relationship alive and healthy, date regularly, and express your affection for each other in the presence of your children.
So, to recap, take it slow, let the biological parent discipline, and focus on your marriage. Good luck. I hope this is useful. If you would like to speak to a professional about your family’s specific situation, please contact us at Wasatch Family Therapy; We would love to help.