Is horseplay a benefit to our children? Just ask Jim Carrey.
I just left The Today Show studio and I still have a smile on my face. I was talking about mothers, fathers, and different parenting styles as they pertain to raising our children. The meat and potatoes of what we were slated to talk about is below. But the real scene stealer was actor/comedian Jim Carrey, who crashed the segment to give Matt Lauer a horsey ride into the commercial break. Definitely the true meaning of horseplay!
Is there a right and a wrong way when it comes to parenting?
We’ve all seen bad parenting—and every parent has his or her moments (see my admission in my recent article: Confessions of a Child Development Expert). So perhaps the real question here is is there more than one “right way” to parent and the answer is absolutely yes.
A lot of parents walk into “the dreaded tantrum:” with a game plan; Dads correct the child with strong words or distract them with humor, while moms, try to reason with the child–who has the better approach?
The better approach depends on that particular child in that particular moment. We all wish there was a magic button when it comes to stopping those tantrums but the truth is, sometimes Dad’s approach will work better, sometimes Mom’s will work better, sometimes a combination of those approaches will be best. The important thing is for Mom and Dad to work as a team and to learn from one another to see what approach works best.
Todayshow.com conducted a poll asking who’s the better parents, Mom or Dad. So far, Moms are winning– are they better?
Generally speaking, Moms often have the advantage of knowing the child better because even though so many mothers are part of the workforce now, they still typically take more of the childcare duties. Really, the best parents are those who are plugged in no matter how much or how little they get to physically be with their children.
Is the difference between Mom and Dad’s parenting style biological in nature?
On a biological level, oxytocin, a bonding hormone, had been stated to be a big reason why woman are more nurturing to their children. However, there are also social cues that raise, reward, and expect boys and men for being more physical and less emotional and girls and woman for being more emotional and less physical.
Is there room for Moms to be more “rough and tumble” and Dads to be more nurturing?
Fathering and mothering does not look and any one way. Parenting is on a continuum. Don’t be nervous about experimenting with interacting with your children outside of traditional gender expectations. Mothers who rough house a bit can teach their children to be comfortable in their own bodies, free with their play, open to fun risk-taking, and learn self-regulation. They stretch the definition of what it means to be a girl, a woman, and a mother. Fathers who are more nurturing with their children, stretch the roles of our sons, and show a wider view of what it means to be a boy, a man, and a father. Fathers also get to know their children in a more intimate way and create a trust and expectation of comfort, safety, and personal, quiet conversations. Both parents can parent in both ways.
Is there ever a problem if fathers are overinvolved?
We always want our fathers to take an active role in parenting but when any parent, mother or father, is overinvolved, overcontrolling—they hover, don’t allow their children to make their own mistakes and learn from them, swoop whenever they see their children in the first sign of challenge, we may be doing more harm than good.
So who should take the lead?
The best parents work as a team. Sometimes Mom will take the lead role, sometimes Dad, but always as a unified front with the same goal in mind and similar values leading their parenting actions and reactions.
To all you fabulous Dads out there, thank you for all you do!
Horseplay on The Today Show with Matt Lauer and Dr. Robyn Silverman…and Jim Carrey? is a post from: Dr. Robyn Silverman – Child Development Specialist, Body Image Expert, Success Coach & the Creator of the Powerful Words Character Development System