Notes on Parenting

Insights for parenting babies, toddlers, teens, and young adults.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Do Mothers and Fathers have different responsibilities?

Many of us today probably identify with what could be called an "independence ideology," in which we believe that mothers and fathers fulfill mutually exclusive, non-overlapping functions. Sadly, "this ideology can lead us to view mothering and fathering as separate endeavors with separate goals that do not overlap." 

This clearly is not true. Although there may be unique gifts or abilities or even benefits that fathers and mothers bring to the family, "fathers are to be involved in the daily care of the home and children" as well. If we overemphasize the independence of each partner it creates "rigid roles," which can then create "isolation and emptiness where husbands and wives feel that they have grown apart and are working alone, unsupported, toward separate goals."

Instead, we should have an interdependent ideology, where "fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners." We should be united in purpose, having a common goal of rearing children. Even in tasks that may have to be completed separately by each spouse, they are not mutually exclusive, nor do they function best in isolation. "Rather fathers' and mothers' hearts and hands are to be joined in accomplishing the work of parenthood by continually echoing and harmonizing with each other." In other words, we should emphasize "shared purpose, mutual support, joint overall responsibility, and collaboration."

How do you share a common purpose and support one another in your relationship?

**Adapted from: Strengthening Our Families: An In-Depth Look at the Proclamation on the Family 



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