Contradictory demands by parents is one of the important causes of behavioural problems in children, reveals a study.
Reminiscing about my involvement in upbringing of my daughters, this fathers’ day, I started wondering what the scene is about today? I spoke to my B, my daughter & R, my S-I-L, about their respective roles in bringing up N.
Their answers prodded me to converse with some more new/young parents about their respective roles and concluded, “Fathers are not getting due credit for their role in parenting”!
R and my S-I-L said, ‘mothers do get more credit for a child’s upbringing, the success and failure at all stages. We have to satisfy ourselves by remaining backstage and take pleasure in our better half getting all the credits.’
Though parenting has more of a matriarchal undertone, both parents need to discuss, plan and ensure that their style of parenting is synergistic for the child’s development.
Usually mothers are more caring, gentle and affirming for the kids whereas fathers are perceived/perceive themselves as more focused on helping their children deal with the real world. And I am sure both wonder why the other cannot change?
In my opinion they should not change as growing kids need different styles of nurturing (with different emotional undertone) to bring out the best in them. The different styles are many a times interchanged!
Since mothers spend more time with the kids, they are more verbose; talk more and convey expectations/areas of concern well; whereas fathers generally speak fewer words, are more direct and still somehow convey to the child a sense of security as well as their (high) expectations from their children.
Most parents admitted that they spend good amount of time in planning how to balance their individual approaches, as they do not want kids to get confused. Styles vary but goal remains the same.
Said one of the fathers, “Whenever M is misbehaving and we realise it’s time to inculcate discipline, I let my wife handle as she is stricter of the two and I walk away. One has to identify need of the hour lest kids take advantage and make the other parent intervene on their behalf”.
Another couple said, we have blocked 20-30 minutes before we sleep to discuss events of the day w.r.t the kiddo and plan in a way that both our styles support each other. If our communication to the child has to be crystal clear; communications between both parents have to be continual, open and we have to bury our differences, if any, and compromise for the child’s future.
Father’s involvement in bringing up a child has been researched a lot; some of key findings are:
- A study conducted in China, among 258 sixth-grade students found that lack of paternal warmth predicted the youth’s hostile behaviour, while paternal warmth led to higher academic performance and social competence.
- Another study found that father’s conflict with mothers, was associated with depression in adolescence.
Today’s fathers are definitely more involved than before but there is a distinct need to balance the style of parenting as a child needs both!
Dr Chander Asrani, father to three daughters and grand father to one, is a post-graduate in Family Medicine. He has over 35 years in clinical practice, launched www.growingwell.com in 2000 and since then has been writing on various subjects. Know more about him at about.me/drasrani.