Mother's Parenting Style
By Mark Brandenburg MA, CPCC
“I think you need to work on your math
skills a bit, those are some basic problems you don’t understand.”
My daughter wasn’t overly thrilled with my “words of encouragement,”
and neither was my wife. They joined forces against my verbal
assault, giving me instructions on how to be more encouraging.
I thought I was just doing my job.
Fathers and mothers parent differently. It is a reflection of the
differences between men and women. It is also the source of a great
deal of conflict between parents. Fathers take an approach with
their kids that’s more “blunt,” and that reflects their concerns
with preparing them for the real world. Mothers take an approach
that reflects their concern with their kids’ feelings, and how
they’re doing in the world of relationships with others.
It has been said that “Mothers see the world in relation to their
kids, and fathers see their kids in relation to the world.” Fathers
are the parents who want their kids to be ready for a world that
isn’t always kind or fair. Fathers are the ones who will push their
kids to achieve more. They are the ones who say, “If you don’t work
harder, you’ll never make the team.” This desire to push your child
can be harmful if done to excess, or with too much intensity. But it
can also be the springboard for your kids to soar higher than they
could have on their own.
My kids experience my style of fathering in other ways. I often come
into a room and wrestle with my kids for a short time, only to
disappear a few minutes after my “conquest.” It drives my wife
crazy. To me, it’s the most natural thing in the world. And, all
kids benefit when they’re exposed to both the sustained, consistent
energy of mothers and the explosive bursts of fathers. When kids are
exposed to both styles, they experience the richness of both of
these energies, which helps them develop their own style.
It is clear that a fathers’ style of parenting is invaluable. These
statistics from the US Census Bureau, the U.S. Department of
Justice, the Center for Disease Control, and the National Principals
Association show just how valuable fathers are:
Children from a fatherless home are:
5 times more likely to commit
32 times more likely to run away
20 times more likely to have
14 times more likely to commit
9 times more likely to drop out of
10 times more likely to abuse
9 times more likely to end up in a
state operated institution
20 times more likely to end up in
Children need their fathers. They need
them to provide their own unique style of parenting, one that has
its own unique value. They need their fathers to wrestle with, to
push them, and to be unafraid to challenge their kids to be their
As my wife and daughter finished telling me how I could be more
encouraging, I replied that I’d like her to be ready for math the
coming school year, and that I knew she could do it. They both got
that, “he doesn’t get it” look in their eyes, and simultaneously
shook their heads.
Actually, I think I “get it” just fine.
Mark Brandenburg MA, CPCC, coaches parents by phone
to balance their life and improve their family relationships. He is
an Instructor for the Academy for Coaching Parents, and the author
of the “Secrets of Emotionally Intelligent Fathers” Ecourse.
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