The society we live in today is a blend of invariable factors that stem from the primitive times to our modern times where the roles of genders have been stereotyped or grilled in from one generation to another and so the situation has reached to a point that even the slightest change of roles of gender could raise questions on the sanity of the doer. For example, it has always been a predetermined role for woman to look after the upbringing of her children whereas man is expected to play the role of a bread earner for his family.
So when we are confronted with this debate about women being the better parents and thus playing a more significant role in the upbringing of the children, most of the people out there wouldn’t want to think twice before agreeing to this. Even a quick glance at the statistics reveals that “According to a Current Population Survey conducted in the United States on a nationally representative sample, 86% of custodial parents are mothers. ”So basically no matter how progressive or educated we consider ourselves, preconceptions about appropriate gender roles continue to influence our lives.
And so from one generation to another the concept that woman can be a better parent has been grilled into the mind of the society. It is a predetermined notion and thus is proclaimed as a topic that is not worthy of debating about. But the times have changed: what seemed impossible once is common knowledge now; what sounded insane has become common sense now; and what was considered as a standard practice for one has become the daily responsibility for others. The gradual change of times has introduced us to an era where the parents consider themselves equally responsible for making both ends meet.
The effort made by parents is not a product of their maternal or paternal inclinations but rather the sense of responsibility, commitment and devotion to keep their families as one and to raise their children in the best possible environment. Certain notions have changed over time for e. g. the practice of the mother staying up all night with her new born has now been replaced by “Who heard the cry first” dictum. Attending the cries and the little signals of a new born in the middle of the night has become a team effort rather than the sole responsibility of the already stressed out mother.
Gone are the days when defenses like “My father never did this” are practiced in today’s society (Squidoo n. d. ). A man and woman continue to live their normal routine lives up until the birth of their first child. This is the time when each of them adopts a different role so that they would be able to cater to the needs of their child and provide their child with the best possible things. The mother looks after the emotional needs of her child and handles almost everything from dressing up her child for school to helping with the homework; from doing all the household chores to tucking her child in bed every night.
Whereas the father normally looks after the psychological needs like providing security through financial means, builds up the self esteem and ensures safety to his child (Chaudhary, 2010). There are mothers who work, who do the household chores, and who do the lion’s share for their children. And there are fathers who try to play an equal role by supporting their partners a huge amount of help whenever they are available. Then again, there are either mothers or fathers who have played no role at all in the upbringing of their child and have trusted the entire responsibility over to their spouses. And so the list goes on.
But generalizing events or situations like these is not the solution. That does not in any manner indicate that men aren’t as good at parenting as women. In the raising of a child, generally the role carried out by a male is that of a protector- who serves as an outer shell and provides security, a disciplinarian- who ensures strong character building and skills to survive the roadblocks in life, and a breadwinner- who provides safety and security through financial means. In a nut shell, the kind of role expected from the male parent is that of someone who provides the balance needed to meet the needs and demands of his family.
On the other hand, the kind of role expected of a female is that of a tender loving mother who can understand the need of her child even before the child feels it, one who is selfless and devoted by all means, a mother who cooks and cleans and helps with homework and is sensitive so that she can forge a closer relationship with her children. So, the question arises, how do fathers fit in? As it is said “two heads are better than one” Babies need to feel the sense of security and protection, which they can only sense when the parents respond spontaneously to every gesture like their cries, smiles and other signals(Anonymous n. d. ).
A baby normally develops a relationship with his parents when it is in its anal stages and starts to relates himself with them in every manner. This is a process known as attachment. It is common knowledge that the upbringing of babies play a major role in determining the various factors like the personality, character, skills, nature etc. Babies with secure attachments to their mothers and fathers have better chances of having a well maintained lifestyle.
Normally a child looks upon his mother when it comes to dealing with the emotional challenges in life; they seek comfort and protection and a heart to heart advice because they believe that no one would understand them better than their mother. When it comes to dealing with the worldly challenges or practical matters; children normally seek their father’s advice. To earn that position in the minds of children; the father is expected to spend more time with his children, respond to their gestures which would eventually result into close attachment with the children.
To conclude, the major obstacle for both men and women is to rid themselves from the stereotypes of the past. Men need to understand that in order to provide a healthy environment to his child; he needs to contribute as much as possible. His role in the raising of his child would not only be reflected on his children but also on his upcoming generation. It is easy to act tough when dealing with others of your stature, but it takes more than a man’s strength to stand in a supermarket line with four children and walking out of the store without spending a dollar on candies.
It is important that men take up the same responsibilities as woman in raising their children i. e. preparing meals, nurturing them and entertaining all their needs. Both the father and the mother need to play important roles in rearing their children. References Anonymous (n. d. ). Why women make better parents? Retrieved May 10, 2010 from< http://tripleoptix. com/gypsiehaven/archives/000044. html > Chaudhary, S. B. (2010). Parenting: Role reversal. Retrieved May 10, 2010 from < http://gulfnews. com/life-style/education/parenting-role-reversal-1. 612837 >
Rudasill, K. M. & Callahan, C. M. (2008). Parenting and Gender Stereotypes. Retrieved May 10, 2010 from < http://www. education. com/reference/article/Ref_Parenting_Gender/> Squidoo. (n. d. ) are mothers better parents than fathers? Retrieved May 10, 2010 from< http://www. squidoo. com/mothers-better-parents-than-fathers > The_Stir. (2009). Gender roles: how strictly do you define them? Retrieved May 10, 2010 from <http://shine. yahoo. com/channel/parenting/gender-roles-how-strictly-do-you-define-them-542074/>