The New York Times enlightens me again! Fathers Gain Respect From Experts (and Mothers) By LAURIE TARKAN was published in the NY Times Health Section this week. I found the article so thought-provoking about how I approach parenting with my wife that I had to read it several times.
Many of the articles and research published lately points toward having dad more involved & engaged in parenting. These reports state that having fathers more involved in parenting decreases the chances for your child to suffer from depression, hyperactivity, or acting out.
This particular article describes a different type of parenting research focusing more on the happiness of the couple. “In the last 20 years, everyone’s been talking about how important it is for fathers to be involved,” said Sara S. McLanahan, a professor of sociology and public affairs at Princeton. “But now the idea is that the better the couple gets along (willingness to compromise, expressing affection or love for their partner, encouraging or helping partners to do things that were important to them, and having an absence of insults and criticism), the better it is for the child.”
The article also describes the concept of a turf battle where the moms act as “gatekeepers” toward parenting. “As much as mothers want their partners to be involved with their children, experts say they often unintentionally discourage men from doing so. Because mothering is their realm, some women micromanage fathers and expect them to do things their way, said Marsha Kline Pruett, a professor at the Smith College School for Social Work at Smith College and a co-author of the new book “Partnership Parenting,” with her husband, the child psychiatrist Dr. Kyle Pruett (Da Capo Press). This gatekeeper concept was discussed even further by Lisa Belkin interviewing Kline & Kyle Pruett in a separate article and podcast on Lisa’s awesome Motherlode Blog, in a posting titled, Making Room for Dad.
After reading this article, I am aware that it is important for me to focus on my child, but equally, as if not more important, to focus on being a great husband & maintaining a solid relationship with my wife. Getting that babysitter for date night is of paramount importance. However, I must admit my shortcomings – I need to hone my skills in being an active listener and better communicator of my feelings.