Can dads get it right?

Parenting.com has posted a series of well-produced, entertaining videos in partnership with Juice Box Jungle. I found the headline, “Daddy Doesn’t Do It Right” and had to check it out. The brief video interviews mothers and fathers about their participation in childcare, and includes some not-so-surprising information:

In this video:

  • Over 25% of dads polled say they’re scared of their wives.
  • Somehow, the woman always ends up being the childcare expert in the relationship, even if she works.
  • “He gets it OK — the kid’s gonna live, but it’s just not right.” If it’s not a serious safety issue, stop criticizing and let him to do it his way.
  • Learn two more easy techniques that’ll help you stop nagging and let it go, so you can have more “me time.”

Of course, it’s not possible to generalize from a small, nonscientific survey, but the information in the video is interesting. Research has shown that the mother is the “gatekeeper” of childcare, and that the mother’s support or criticism is a big predictor of dad’s involvement. One father in the video said, “I’ve gotten used to criticism, that a lot of times I’ll say, ‘If you want to do it, do it.'” So what’s a mom to do when she wants help but feels that things have to be done to her specifications?

It’s important for fathers to be involved in the caregiving as well as the playmate role. The key, according to the video, is for moms to avoid nagging – if it isn’t a safety issue. “hold your tongue.” This strategy is less likely to push dad away from helping. In fact, it was suggested that moms should leave dads with the kids. This strategy allows mothers some personal time and could reduce their stress level along with the temptation to criticize the fathers behaviour. The more dads do, the more confident they’ll become, and they’ll be more likely to pitch in and help later on.

Even better than leaving or keeping quiet, I think it’s important to find something to compliment about dad’s childcare behaviour – rewarding the things you like makes him more likely to do them later on.

Moms, how do you encourage dads to be involved in the day-to-day care of the kids? Dads, do you fall into the 25% of men who fear their wives? Leave us a comment!

You can view the video here.

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