Stereotyping people is one of those things that a lot of us are guilty of. Most of us feel the need to compartmentalize people in some way, shape, or manner though I’m not sure why. I’ve been guilty of it as well. But, just about every stereotype I’ve ever had was eventually proven to be incorrect. Even in the world of parenting, some stereotypes still exist. My contention is they are being disproved every day.
I’ll share a short story from my book Tantrums, Troubles, and Treasures to illustrate the point. When I contemplated leaving teaching, I really struggled internally so I decided to talk with the school counselor. During our conversation she said (something to the effect of) what kind of role model would you be to your children if you weren’t working?
Looking back at this story years later, it really grates me. Do I have to have a job away from my family to be a good role model? Am I not capable of giving my kids what they need as long as I am at home? Is there a place in this world for stay-at-home fathers? By the way, despite the fact I am no longer in the teaching profession, I work my tail off every day- but I digress!
There was a time after I left teaching when I was upset with this counselor. Nowadays, I understand. She most likely had a parenting stereotype about stay-at-home parents (obviously she wasn’t one) or stay-at-home fathers.
Kids need a firm hand but that doesn’t have to be from the father. Kids need a nurturing soul but that doesn’t mean it has to be from the mother. Parents should assess their strengths and weaknesses. That way, they can collectively use them to their advantage.
When I worked at St Joseph Children’s Home, all the adults had strengths and weaknesses. I firmly believe the reason I learned so much from so many is I didn’t have these parenting stereotypes going into the job. I was raised by my mother so I really didn’t know “the role” of a man. What I learned was that there is a big job to do with kids and it’s up to the adults involved to give them what they need no matter who gives it.
As a separate piece of advice, I’ll leave you with this. If you are new to parenting, don’t stereotype your partner’s role with the child. Instead, assess strengths and weaknesses of each other. I think you’ll be happier in the long run.
I am leaving the blogging world for a week to recharge the proverbial batteries. I will be writing to you again Tuesday June 21st. If you wish, please fill in your email address in the subscription link on the top right hand side of the page. That way, when I return, you’ll be among the first to know.
Finally, Lulu (the company I published through) has offered a 20% discount on my book Tantrums, Troubles, and Treasures. I’m continuing to hear really inspiring comments from the people who have read it. Thanks to all who have purchased the book. I hope you have received some great tips on the psychology of parenting while being highly entertained!
For those who haven’t purchased it yet (what’s the holdup anyway?) click on the book at the right hand side of the page. When you reach the checkout page, enter the code top305. The offer is good until June 13th. You can also go straight to www.lulu.com and “search” Tantrums, Troubles, and Treasures. A paperback copy is only $15.99 before the discount or you can download the book straight to your computer for $8.99 (pre discount)
Have a terrific weekend!!!