Dr. Joy: Gender Determines Parenting Style

By WEEK Reporter

July 20, 2011 Updated Jul 20, 2011 at 9:40 PM CDT

In Wednesday night's "Ask Dr. Joy", Joy answers the ultimate question: Does gender determine our parenting style?

Any couple who have a child would probably agree that men and women tend to parent differently. But, is there really research that indicates that men and women styles of disciplining and negotiating children are truly different? Dr. Joy examines parenting and explains how gender does play a role in handling everything from temper tantrums to children's attention spans.

Temper tantrums:

* Dads tend to handle the situation with a few well-chosen words and distracting with a joke. Technique teaches resiliency.
* Moms tend to get upset or overwhelmed by the tantrum and try to reason with the child, and explain how something is inappropriate. This teaches a child to express their feelings in words and talk through finding a solution


* Dads tend to distract a child from the injury and get them to go on with whatever they were doing and be strong. Technique focuses on resiliency and shaking off small setbacks.

* Moms tend to comfort, smooth, hold and encourage the child to talk about how they feel to help them feel safe and secure. Technique helps child express feelings and talk through their hurts to find comfort.


* Dads tend not to intervene and encourage a child to stick with it until they figure it out. This technique helps them solve problems independently.

* Moms tend to secretly re-arrange things so a child can feel as though they can find success and achieve. Technique helps develop confidence.

Play time:

* Dads tend to use rough housing and are more physical. They laugh, play hard, toss children, and spark peaks in emotions. Techniques teach children to deal with all sorts of ups and downs.

* Moms tend to babble, respond to shifts in facial expressions, touch and hug. Technique teaches child to reach social cues and learn how to be intimate and close to others.

Dr. Joy says though the two styles are vastly different, there is no right or wrong. The different styles compliment and enhance the development of a child. A healthy child can benefit from the teamwork of utilizing both parenting styles, which can be a compliment to a child 's development and help build a strong marriage.

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