Kid on Dad ShouldersInstincts We All Have Them

First let me say, happy belated Father’s Day.

Let me ask you a question, why is okay for women to participate in male bashing, but it’s totally offensive for men to participate in female bashing? Yes, I’m fully aware that women have been oppressed for centuries. Does that fact mean it’s our turn to trash men? Do you think the media has influenced women?

Last week there was a segment on The Today Show with Matt Lauer and Dr. Robyn Silverman titled, “Do Dads Make Better Parents Than Moms?”

After hearing the title of the segment some moms would brush it off and say, “It was a Father’s day segment, of course they’d title it that way.” Other moms might laugh and say, “Dads better than moms, you have to be kidding me!”

My reaction, I was offended! And not for the reason you think.

I was offended by the comparison. Why do we compare moms and dads? Why don’t we honor the fact that men and women each bring unique and helpful points of view to the job of parenting?

I would have liked to see The Today Show use a more balanced segment title, one that in my opinion more aptly fits the reality of parenting. I would have liked to see a segment title like, “3 Things Dad Brings to Parenting that Rarely Gets Noticed!”

Now, that’s a title I’d listen to. That title doesn’t pit parents against each other. That title doesn’t ignite competition and comparison.

Before anyone gets his or her dander up, let me explain what this article is really about. I know situations exist where the family/parenting workload isn’t equal, in fact nowhere close. I know that some parents leave it up to the other parent to do all the parenting. Yes, I know it happens—a lot.

What this article is talking about are the natural instincts that both men and women unconsciously use when raising their children.

Males and females each bring a unique set of skills to the job of parenting. Moms are primal nurturers. As women we mostly use the emotional side of ourselves to raise our children. We help children work through issues by talking to them about their feelings. It’s natural for us. It’s not as natural for a man to do that. He can, but it doesn’t come as naturally.

Dads are primal hunter-gatherers. They use the logical side of their nature to teach children how to deal with the hard knocks of life. They teach kids how to brush it off and stand up to face life again. Yes, women can teach that too, but we would tend to resort to our emotional side and ask, how do you feel about what happened, again focusing in on the emotions of the situation.

Mr. Man used to say, “I don’t mean to offend you, but sometimes you can’t coddle a child, you just have to tell it like it is, and help them get over it!” I agreed, but always found that difficult, and was grateful that he could do that.

Another thing Mr. Man said to our sons was, “It’s my job to teach you to be a man.” When my kids were young, that statement would offend my feminist and empowered sensibilities. I would think, “Wait a minute, anything you can do, I can do too!” Then I got it, I can’t teach my sons how to be a man—I’m a woman!

I was able to share my female point of view about what it means to be a man, but I had no idea how to share a male’s point of view about being a man.

I did share my point of view about how I believe a man should treat woman, but here again, that was my female point of view. When Mr. Man talked about how a man should treat a woman it was as if he was passing the men’s club torch to the next generation.

There are just some things a man has instinctual information about. And there some things a woman has instinctual information about. It’s just the way it is.

I’m hoping the next time you’re around, or participating in male bashing, you’ll remember to make a distinction between what’s instinctual and the choice that an individual made. After all no one, male or female, likes to be lumped into a category!

It’s just the way it is. For women to access their instincts they have to ask, Moms, Are You Getting What You Need?

Sharon Silver is the author of Stop Reacting and Start Responding and The Authentic Parent Series. Go to to download two free chapters from her book and learn about other Proactive Parenting programs. Find Sharon on Twitter and Facebook.


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