2023 Author: Anita Thornton | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-22 03:30
Raising a child requires parents to constantly adjust each person's contribution to the family dynamic in order for everything to go well. Which is not always easy!
« I want him to understand that I'm right! This line came as a heartfelt cry from a young mother during a workshop I recently led in a community organization. Immediately afterwards, there was a great silence. A silence filled with uneasiness and astonishment. Then, a big nervous laugh slowly emerged from the mothers who participated in the meeting. The subject of the workshop: the role of the father in the education of children!
Until not so long ago, the roles of mothers and fathers were quite clearly defined. The mother generally took care of the house, the kitchen, the children and the father earned money to support the family. He was also often responsible for recreation, lawns… and taking out the trash!
But now, in recent years, the situation has changed a lot. Young parents now want to live an increasingly shared parenthood and must therefore learn something new in the history of humanity: sharing household chores,share the care of the child and also share… the power linked to these responsibilities! It's not nothing…
What complicates things is that most of the time mothers leave with a head start. They have babysat when they are young, they have more experience in housework, they have more recipes under their belt and they prepare a lot more before the children arrive! Young men are often a little deprived. They mowed lawns as their first summer job, aren't sure what to do with a baby, and don't have much talent or interest in household chores. In addition, women carry, deliver and breastfeed babies. Hence the famous… I want him to understand that I'm right!
This kind of line extremely annoys young fathers who want to get involved in the daily life of their family. Statistics Canada and the Institut de la Statistique du Québec note in unison that men are doing more and more household chores and that the gap is gradually narrowing between the sexes, even if it must be recognized that women are always doing more chores. housewives than men. So how can a couple overcome this important challenge?
- Avoid inappropriate replies like: I want people to understand that I'm right! Living with someone who is always right is unbearable!
- Accept that we don't know everything. Be ready to learn. Put your pride aside a little when you do something stupid. Acknowledging your mistakes… usually wins!
- Accept that the spouse's contribution may be different from theirs. More and more young fathers really care about their children. Incessant reproaches slow down this momentum of commitment or lead the couple towards perpetual conflicts. Often guys don't do chores like girls. If it doesn't make the child's life safe, poison anyone, tear down the family wardrobe, or go against your parenting principles, it may be wise to accept that the another does the tasks differently. For child care, this difference is often… an advantage! Many studies bear this out.
Doing your share of housework. One of the greatest frustrations of contemporary Quebec women is related to the sharing of household chores. This question must be addressed clearly in the couple and you must try to find the solution that suits you. One of the problems is that men and women often don't have the same idea of what should be done in a house. We must therefore talk to each other, which means expressing what we feel, but also listening to what the other has to say and trying to find common ground! Guys often have work to do to learn how to communicate well!
Recognize the contribution of the other. New fathers who are involved in family life greatly appreciate that their partnerrecognize their commitment. Young mothers have little tendency to verbalize this recognition since they often say to themselves that: it's just normal for him to do that! Me, I do it well! Why would I thank him and find that extraordinary? Saying thank you, saying I liked such a thing, saying you're a good father does not cost much and allows the father to ensure that he is appreciated by his spouse. This is all the more valuable if he receives frequent criticism!
If you want to be recognized, you have to know how to recognize the contribution of your spouse. It seems that women particularly appreciate the expressions of empathy on the part of the spouse. Empathy doesn't mean buying flowers or buying a $150 dinner at a restaurant. Often, a simple look, a gesture, stopping to listen to the other, etc. is more important than any gift. All of this tells your partner that you appreciate her, love her, care about her, and understand her! Feeling understood and appreciated by the other is often the secret of couples that last…
- Put the needs of the child at the center of family choices. When there is a conflict about the education of the child, the best way to get out of an impasse is often to simply ask yourself: what is best for our child? Not what I prefer! Not what allows me to win the argument! Get out of me, me, me and ask yourself instead: what iswhat best meets the needs of our child and ours. This should always guide us, as a parent, father or mother, in raising our children.
Mothers and fathers are currently inventing something new in the history of our society. Raising, educating, supporting children as a couple, together… on a daily basis! It's not nothing! They are therefore going through a period of transition and it is normal for there to be tensions, questioning and frustration on both sides. This is perfectly normal. The current period, however, allows us to invent something unique, something that resembles us, something beautiful and new in which women and men can live side by side, equal, but different, for the better- to be their children. It is certainly a considerable challenge, but if we take it up, we can come out of it truly grown as a father and as a mother, as a woman and as a man. If we accept, of course, that we are not always right… neither one nor the other!