Susan Rossi Cook, Attorney and Mediator

Children need both Mom’s and Dad's parenting styles

One of the main reasons that it is important for both parents to stay involved with the children after divorce is simple: Mothers and fathers are different.

They treat the kids differently. They raise them differently. They have different parenting styles. And studies have shown that children need both of these styles.

When children get both, they are more likely to feel confident and secure. This helps their development. It can literally change their lives, as those who grow up to become confident adults may find that their mindset and attitude can open a lot of doors.

The myth about fathers

Sometimes, fathers do not feel like they are as important as mothers. Some of this gets driven by societal myths saying that women can raise children and men never know what they're doing. Watch almost any sitcom from the 1990s and you will see how this myth plays out time and time again.

The truth, though, is that children definitely need their fathers and fathers are important in their lives. They play a bigger role than they know. Again, it is the balance that is critical.

Typical parenting styles

Every family is different and every person is different, but there are some typical trends when looking at parenting styles. Experts note that mothers tend to be more nurturing, while fathers tend to be more challenging and use a "real-world" parenting style.

Both can help. In essence, a child who falls off of her bike while learning to ride needs her mother to give her a hug and comfort her. But she also needs her father to tell her that she is fine and challenge her to get back on the bike.

Only getting one side does not give children the balance. Nurturing without challenging may make people afraid to push their limits and fight through life's trials. Challenging without nurturing can make children feel results-oriented, as if they are not worth anything unless they accomplish set goals. With balance, children know they are loved and they push themselves in all areas of their lives.

Breaking the cliches

It is important to stress that parenting styles should not stay confined to specific genders. A mother can challenge her kids. A father can nurture his. Overall, though, no matter how the balance gets created, the reality is that two parents tend to bring two slightly different parenting styles into children's lives. That is very good for them and helps them in many ways.

Parents who get divorced need to keep this in mind. They do not have to stay married to stay involved. They need to know all of the legal rights that they have when making a parenting plan that benefits the kids.

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Susan Rossi Cook, Attorney and Mediator

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