In talking with others, I’m seeing a trend in a primary reference point men use in making parenting decisions: Their childhoods.
Experiences that yielded what guys consider to be “good outcomes” is what they lean on for parenting decisions. Even men with hard childhoods use their upbringing as a reference point of what not to do.
Women include their childhoods in their parenting approach, but it isn’t their main consideration.
Just as there is more than one route to get to Chicago – and even more that one mode of transport – there’s more than one way to raise what we *hope* will be a brave, kind, intelligent, hard working, respectful members of society.
“But this way worked!” your guy may say. “What was good enough for me is good enough for them!”
Perhaps. But not necessarily. Because you are not your child and your child isn’t you. The current personalities, environments, and circumstances within your home are not identical to those of your (his or her) youths, nor is the outside world the same as it was then.
To that end, women certainly take into consideration our childhoods and upbringings, but its replication isn’t our main objective. Instead, we tend to collect information from lots of sources.
We talk to girlfriends and grandmothers, aunts and sisters, childcare workers and teachers. We watch what our in-laws do and inquire about our nieces and nephews. We observe what total strangers are doing with their kids at the store, at restaurants, in playgroups, and on playgrounds. We read articles. We’ve talked with our pediatricians, our general practitioners, and our ob/gyns.
We gather all of this information, lay it out on our mental dining table, and then we add one more reference point: The husband’s childhood. Because we know it’s important to him.
So let me offer a little reassurance:
Guys – it’s normal for you to refer to your childhood as a parenting reference point. You are not alone.
Ladies – your male counterpart isn’t the only one referring to his youth for decision making. You are not alone.
The fact that you both care about your kids is huge. So rather than arguing about whose approach is best, or why he keeps brining up his youth or why she keeps countering with other options, remember first and foremost that you’re both headed for Chicago. Same destination. Same end goal.
Get yourselves in the same vehicle and remember: It’s not about replicating his childhood any more than it’s about replicating hers. It’s about doing what’s best for your children.It’s not about replicating his childhood any more than it’s about replicating hers. It’s about doing what’s best for your children. Click To Tweet
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