Mothers and fathers are the
yin and yang of parenting. Similar
and different at the same time and
when combined, they can be a well-rounded whole.
When both parents provide safe,
nurturing care, their different
styles and influences are good for
In their book Partnership Parenting,
Kyle Pruett and Marsha Kline
Pruett say parenting differences are
strengths, not deficiencies. “Mothers
do not father, and fathers do not
Some men parent like women and
some women parent like men, says
Dr. Robbin Gibb, a neuroscientist at
the University of Lethbridge.
“Some people think that you’re
saying something is wrong when you
Moms and dads: same love,
Parenting styles can be shaped by gender
say there are differences between
how moms and dads parent. But
you have to realize the genders
have different brains—and I say
‘vive la difference.’ ”
Leslie Barker, health promotion
facilitator with Alberta Health
Services’ Early Childhood Team,
says the differences between
moms and dads are typical but far
from absolute and are interesting
Some examples are:
Moms: tend to protectively hold
their baby facing into their chest so
their faces and bodies are close.
Dads: more often have baby’s back
to their chest facing outward as they
take on the world together.
Response to distress
Moms: mostly pick up and soothe.
Dads: most often pick up and
Moms: usually combine play
with the daily care and attention
they give their child. They often
lean towards quieter activities
such as reading, crafts, games
Dads: like more risk-taking
and “rough and tumble” physical
Language and communication
Moms: tend to be more attuned to
anticipating children’s needs before
they say them.
Dads: children tend to work
When both parents provide safe, nurturing care, their different styles and influences are good for their children.