Mothers and fathers need to remodel together!
Lauria Tarkan of the New York Times writes:
It used to irk Melissa Calapini when her 3-year-old daughter, Haley, hung around her father while he fixed his cars. Ms. Calapini thought there were more enriching things the little girl could be doing with her time.
But since the couple attended a parenting course — to save their relationship, which had become overwhelmed by arguments about rearing their children — Ms. Calapini has had a change of heart. Now she encourages the father-daughter car talk. …
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).
Yet a mother’s support of the father turns out to be a critical factor in his involvement with their children, experts say — even when a couple is divorced.
Later in the article she quotes one of my favorite pairs of experts on parenthood and marriage, Philip A Cowan and Carolyn Pape Cowan. Philip A. Cowan, co-author of When Partners Become Parents, points out the cultural assumptions and stereotypes that often keep us all thinking and acting as if mothers are responsible for and naturally better with children, which can often keep fathers at arms length.
“The walls in family resource centers are pink, there are women’s magazines in the waiting room, the mother’s name is on the files, and the home visitor asks for the mother if the father answers the door,” said Philip A. Cowan, an emeritus professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, who along with his wife, Carolyn Pape Cowan, has conducted decades of research on families. “It’s like fathers are not there.”
And at the end of the article, Cowan points out the importance of parents focusing on their own relationship.
“Parents work all day, and feel as if they need to give every other minute to the kids,” Dr. Cowan said, “but if they don’t take care of the relationship between them, they’re not taking care of the whole story.”
Read the whole article here.