In a normal family, children are exposed to the care of a mother and a father. Fatherly care and motherly care are different in many ways but nonetheless provides a sense of balance. A child exposed to only fatherly care will develop a different set of attitudes and traits compared to a child exposed only to motherly care. No care is better than the other. Both are important in bringing up a child properly into this world. Dr.
Kyle Pruett of Yale Medical School explains that fathers are just as important as mothers in bringing up a child for the reason that “fathers do not mother”. A father contributes a lot to parenting which mothers cannot even hope to provide. Others indicate that father love and mother love are two different kinds of love and it is described that “fathers love more dangerously” because fatherly love is more “expectant” and “instrumental” compared to motherly love (Stanton, Part 1).
According to Eleanor Maccoby, a psychologist at Stanford, compared to mothers who provide “warm, nurturing care for a crying infant” (Stanton, Part 1), fathers provide more of a sense of independence to their children (Sacks, 2008). A study done by Yale indicated that infants who lived with only a father proved to have more advanced personal and social skills. Older babies have under the care of a father have shown similar characteristics. It is stated in another survey that compared to children raised by mothers, children who are raised by fathers exhibited higher self-esteem, maturity and independence.
Moreover, a study in Denmark showed that toddlers raised by single fathers “had fewer temper tantrums, were less-sensitive to criticism, less fearful, less likely to feel lonely, and more likely to have high self-esteem” compared to children raised by single mothers (Sacks, 2008). In comparison, both are physical but father play prove to be more physical compared to mother play. A study noted that 70 percent of play between father and their children were “more physical and action-oriented”. Only 4 percent of mother-infant play exhibited similar characteristics.
According to John Snarey, a fathering expert, “children who roughhouse with their fathers learn that biting, kicking and other forms of physical violence are not acceptable” and they display more self-control. With motherly and fatherly both present, children develop a balance between timidity and aggression. A mother’s “softness” and a father’s “roughhousing” provide security and confidence through “communicating love” and “physical intimacy” (Stanton, Part 1). Fathers often acknowledge their children to push the limits while mothers promote security.
For example, the father teaches his son to ride a bike and instructs the child to go downhill. The father here encourages his son to push the limit but the mother may react and tell the son not to do it because there are dangers involved. This difference may create conflict for the parents but is good for the child in a sense that there is balance between security and confidence (Stanton, Part 1). Another difference is the communication as mothers adjust the way they talk to the child’s level for easier understanding whereas a father does not which encourages children to expand vocabulary and improve linguistic skills.
Exposure to both communication styles is better in the long run (Stanton, Part 1). Carol Gilligan, an educational psychologist, states that there is a difference on how a father and a mother discipline their children. She said that fathers tend to emphasize on “justice, fairness and duty” based on a set of rules while mothers focus on “sympathy, care and help based on relationship”. Only one disciplining style is not healthy but when both exists, there also exists a balance (Stanton, Part 1).
However, studies indicate that mothers use more physical punishment compared to mothers. Based on records from the United States Department of Justice, 70 percent of concluded cases of child abuse and 65 percent child murders by parents involved mothers. The thinking that children are safer in the care of a mother is a misconception as the US Department of Health and Human Services point out that a custodial mother has five times more of a tendency to murder her own child compared to a custodial father.
Children are also more prone to abuse or neglect under the care of their mothers at a rate of 88 percent (Sacks, 2008). Parental care has been mostly associated with women as men pursue their careers in order to provide for their families but there is an increasing number of double income families. Some families even have lone female providers which may be because of personal preferences. Men who stay at home to do household work and to fend for the children are often characterized as “unmanly,” “lazy,” or a “slacker”.
The situation is worsened by women rights activists by producing “misleading” studies that label house husbands as lazy (Slacks, 2008). Going back, another difference between the two is that mothers tend to prepare their children from “things in the outside world that could hurt them” such as accidents while fathers tend to focus on “how their children will or will not be prepared for something they might encounter” such as bullies and sports. Fathers also highlight that the attitude of their children has specific consequences.
Fathers educate their children on the “harshness of the real world” while mothers “protect their children against it” (Stanton, Part 2). Fathers and mothers also serve as a role model for their children. A son looks up to his father and imitates what he does and understands that there are some things that his mother does that he should not emulate. Parents also individually teach their children how to respect the opposite sex (Stanton, Part 2).
Fatherly care and motherly care are both essential in bringing up a child. Having only one would create an imbalance. The guidance of both a mother and a father is essential to bring up a morally upright child who is prepared for the challenges of the real world. Debates on who the better parent is is nonsense as solo parenting could not motivate and bring up children as good as the presence of both parents.
Stanton, Glenn T. Why Children Need Father-Love and Mother-Love, Part 1.Focus on the Family. Retrieved May 5, 2008, from http://www. family. org/socialissues/A000001142. cfm Sacks, Glenn. 5 May 2008. Father Care: The Other Child Care Option. Father and Families. Retrieved May 5, 2008, from http://www. glennsacks. com/father_care_the. htm Stanton, Glenn T. Why Children Need Father-Love and Mother-Love, Part 2. Focus on the Family. Retrieved May 5, 2008, from http://www. family. org/socialissues/A000000635. cfm