Children need both a father and a mother. It is more than family solidarity. Children need both the nurturing style of most mothers and a challenging, real-world-based style of most fathers.

How can fathers and mothers have different parenting styles? And how can we combine them to benefit our children as they grow up prepare for the future?

There is one caveat. These styles can be distorted based on gender. Some families have more demanding mothers, while fathers are more nurturing. The key to getting the most out of the mix is balancing different parenting styles.

Style for Mothers

Mothers are more likely to be in nurturing roles. Mothers seem to have an inherent ability to discern the needs of their children. For example, they are more sensitive to a baby’s needs than a father. Fathers don’t understand the emotional connection that mother and child have.

Mothers tend to be more verbal with their children than fathers. This is partly because women are generally more verbal than men. This style is evident in parenting, where Mom tends to offer more words of affirmation and communicate her expectations better. She also tends to “talk out” problems involving discipline.

Mothers tend to prioritize their children’s needs over their own. It seems that she is wired to sacrifice herself; maybe it starts in pregnancy when Mom has to take on such a large physical care role.

The Father’s Style

Fathers tend to be more focused on setting high standards for their children and encouraging them in that direction. They are less concerned with making children feel secure or happy and more about challenging them and helping them to adapt to the real world. Fathers rarely have the same emotional bond with their mothers. My friend with twins struggled to tell them apart when they were babies, but their mother could do it easily.

While fathers may not be as verbal as mothers, they tend to use fewer words and communicate more clearly. Although they may appear too tough to moms, their toughness is rooted in helping children be ready for real life. From a discipline standpoint, they tend to place consequences faster and talk later.

Fathers are also less selfless, at least in the obvious sense. Their sacrifices focus more on the whole family and less on each child.

Combining both parenting styles in families

Research shows that fathers play a crucial role in the lives and development of their children. Fathers are openly aware that mothers are also essential. The key question is how to combine the various styles and roles into an effective parenting approach.

If these parenting styles are not properly blended, many negatives can come to a family.

  • Children may feel confused or conflicted when their parents have different expectations.
  • Children can be attracted to parents who seem different because they are more suited for their parenting style.
  • As they age, conflicts can lead to alienation or depression.

It takes effort

The key to success is finding the right balance between parenting styles. It takes careful thought and actions to achieve the right balance between blending and balancing.

  • Negotiate. Parents who have different approaches to parenting need to find a comfortable place for both of them. It is important to communicate, talk about differences, then compromise and cooperate to find the right balance.
  • Help each other with parenting. Children quickly learn how to put one parent against another and divide between mom and dad. It is important not to argue about parenting in front of your children. Let the other parent lead in a situation and talk about it later.
  • Let the stricter parent prevail. Children will manipulate you to choose the conciliatory parent, leading to poor parenting. Future manipulation will be eliminated if you stay with the more structured parent and has more rules.
  • Discuss the key values. Different parenting styles are best for parents who want to reinforce and teach the same values. Create a family mission that includes the key values you and your family hold dear. As you parent together, it will allow you to focus more on the important things and find the best way to embrace those values in every situation. You will find the best approach to consider the “greater good”.
  • Seek help if your parenting style isn’t working. Talk to a family therapist or clergy member if you have trouble with your parenting style. A trusted friend who has been a successful parent might be a good option. To help your family address their specific concerns, you might consider attending a parenting class offered at your local school district.

It takes effort and focuses on working together in blending your parenting styles. The positive effect you have on your children when you work together to be effective parents can prove worth it. You will make parenting a lot easier if you put your children first.

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