Parenting roles

The parenting role for a mum has always differed from that of a father, but I wanted to explore why it seems to be the mum children turn to, when they’re looking for someone to blame.

When I was little, Mum was always to blame. It didn’t matter what we as children did, the finger was always pointed in her direction. Yes, Mum disciplined us, but I feel all of this goes deeper.

Society stereotypes parenting roles. While it is no longer considered the accepted norm, when I was growing up, psychologically and emotionally parents were expected to fit into their gender roles, with the mum having the biggest role. Different rules applied to each parent.

The mum seemed to be the one who was penalised if she disciplined, whereas the dad was the one who participated at his own discretion, then stepped back without incurring penalties to himself. In some cases, but obviously not all, a child’s success is attributed to the mother also, as is the finger of guilt when something goes wrong.

When girls are small, they are encouraged to nurture, to care and be responsive. Boys are encouraged to be tough. But even if boys are encouraged to nurture, their instinct will always be to do the opposite. While there remains debate that behavioural instincts that are pre-programmed in male and female brains, socio-cultural factors are also accepted as important.

In some cases, yes, but this won’t be the experience for all. When men become fathers, there are fewer expectations on them around disciplining their children, which means their personalities are left intact once their children are grown and have flown the nest. Some men are not encouraged to discipline children in the same way women are, but that doesn’t mean that they cannot and shouldn’t discipline.

Men can also be responsive, attentive and supportive. A lot of it is passed through the generations. Parenting is a generation and cultural thing. It is how we’re brought up.

Some men are still happy to leave their wives to discipline. Thankfully, some are happy to share the parenting role also.

10 Jun, 2011

6 thoughts on “Parenting roles

  1. I think your description of roles is very accurate indeed, although not all men act in that way.

    I firmly believe in sharing parenting responsibilities but whether our children see that, is another matter.

    1. I agree that not all men behave in this way.

      I think children in general take what they want from their relationship with their parents regardless of what we contribute, right or wrongly.

  2. When I was growing up my father did the disciplining.

    My parents shared the responsibilities of all the other things. I think in the beginning it was the mother who was in charge of the training; nurturing and caring for the family. The father was the bread winner, but of course that was before women joined the work force and all the responsibilities were then shared or attempted to be shared.

    What isn’t fair to me is that the mother is expected to have a job and then come home and have her work at home, but nothing has changed for the father. He goes out and works and comes home and doesn’t do anything but rest up for the next day of work.

    When it comes to my daughter, her dad has been blamed for a lot of the way she acts. They say, “she is just like her dad,” but I do get blamed for some of the way she is.

    I don’t think my parents were blamed for anything pertaining to us; except mom says I’m just like my father in some respects, but there is no blame.

    1. When I was growing up in the 60’s, a lot of the disciplining fell on the mother. My father didn’t include himself in the disciplining, as he solely left that to my mother.

      I do agree that more women are now choosing to work and that some of the responsibilities are shared, but I still think and have seen from those around me that the mum’s still do the majority of the disciplining.

      I think father’s are easier in that respect, they are happier to go with what their children want, rather than have to work through any debates.

  3. I think much of what you say here is true.

    Not being a father I cannot comment on parenting, I can only observe how other people do it. Not an easy job raising kids.

    I know my brother and his wife have raised their kids very differently, than my parents did with us. Times have changed.

    1. Randy I completely agree with you. Times have changed and so have attitudes. I also agree with what you say about raising Kids, it’s not an easy job.

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