Dads and Moms Parent Differently
A dad looks, smells, sounds and acts differently than a mom. Understanding these differences are a child’s first experiences with diversity!
Dads don’t “mother,” they “father,” and according to the Yale Child Study Center, there are beneficial differences between moms and dads.
Here are some examples:
- When moms play with their children, they are more likely to use toys and talk to their children. This kind of play helps enhance a child’s cognitive and social development.
- When dads play with their children, they are more likely to engage in physical activities like rough and tumble play. This helps with a child’s physical development and coordination in addition to teaching limits and healthy risk taking.
- Mothers tend to pick up their infant in the same way over and over—usually to change a diaper, feed the baby or comfort the baby.
- Fathers usually pick up a baby to do something with him/her, and they pick the baby up differently each time.
- Fathers use humor more; they tend to make every day activities such as dressing, bathing and feeding more playful.
- Fathers support “novelty-seeking” behaviors, such as encouraging children to explore their environment. Dads also are more likely to let kids master tasks on their own before stepping in to help.
- Moms emphasize relationships and the social costs of misbehaving.
- Fathers discipline by using more real-life consequences. For example, Mom might say: “You’ll hurt your friend’s feelings if you don’t share.” Dad might say: “You won’t have any friends if you’re selfish with your toys.”
- Fathers adjust their speech patterns for infants, but with older children they tend to use more “adult” language; bigger words and longer sentences.
- Mothers tend to hold on to “baby talk” longer.
- Dads provide safe and loving interactions that help build a child’s self-confidence. Infants who have had positive interactions with their fathers are more likely to explore the world around them with excitement and interest. They are less fearful and more curious.
(Work and Family Life 2012)