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 suicide
- 32 times more likely to run away
- 20 times more likely to have behavioral disorders
- 14 times more likely to commit rape
- 9 times more likely to drop out of school
- 10 times more likely to abuse chemical substances
- 9 times more likely to end up in a state operated institution
- 20 times more likely to end up in prison
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 best.
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.
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