The Fathering, Mothering Loop


Have you ever noticed how some of the articles which advise people on improving their fathering, promote being more nurturing, softer, and flexible?
And that the key words emphasize the value of dialogue, empathy, and love?
Often too, articles meant to advise mothers on being more effective and feeling less stressed in their parenting, suggest that mothers establish clear and consistent boundaries and expectations, and become more at ease in their sense of parenting authority.
Do you see the obvious loop?
Fathers are advised that parenting improvement arises by integrating some of the characteristics we traditionally connect with our concepts that define mothering.
Mothers are advised to enhance their parenting by what typically we consider the traits of a good father.
May we conclude that being a good parent means keeping a balance of gentleness and discipline, flexibility and consistency, understanding and expectations?
Would we develop more confident, reasonable, and capable parents if our culture assumed that mothers and fathers each have the responsibility to cultivate all the necessary qualities of being a parent?
Certainly we would see the disappearance of, “wait till your father gets home”, and similar threats to children which are spoken by a mother who feels unsure and incapable of disciplining her own children.
So too, “let’s not tell mom about this”, would find its way out of our systems.  Women would no longer be viewed as so emotionally and psychologically frail that life’s potent and/or painful episodes, would most likely overwhelm them.
Instead of compartmentalizing the imagined good deed of stepping away from one’s own authority to parent, or secretly keeping details about situations from the other parent, men and women would all be considered competent to parent with the full range of developed human qualities.
We would then have parents who are more whole and balanced within themselves.
As a result of dissolving set parenting roles which are gender specific, all parents would be responsible to discuss matters, understand the other person’s point of view, and make sound parenting decisions by collaborating and combining the best features of each unique person, not each one’s culturally defined parenting role.
Imagine too, the benefits of “full person parenting” to  the child of such hypothetical parents!

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About Sherry Katz

Sherry Katz, LCSW is primarily a couples therapist who counsels partners and individuals of all adult ages, in relieving tension and unhappiness in their relationships. The spectrum of care in her practice includes recuperating from infidelity, clarifying and strengthening trust and communication, restoring and developing common ground for a relationship. Ms. Katz has a secondary practice interest in helping family members align themselves in response to caring for elderly parents, especially a parent who has Alzheimer's Disease.Old Stories, New Views Family Therapy

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