Gender differences in parenting styles – moms Vs dads

Gender differences in parenting styles - moms Vs dads

Gender differences in parenting styles – moms Vs dads

The following is part 3 of a transcript of an interview between Patrick Wanis, Human Behavior and Relationship Expert, PhD and Dr. Vicki Panaccione, child psychologist and Founder and Director of the Better Parenting Institute discussing a study that reveals that teenage children would choose fame over greater intelligence, beauty or physical strength. Patrick Wanis and Dr. Vicki also explore parenting styles and Dr. Vicki answers the question “Can children be divine without being narcissistic?” by revealing 4 strategies to raising children with healthy self-esteem. For previous part of this transcript (Part 2), click here:  

Patrick: You’ve raised many great points Dr. Vicki, one of which is the most important, is that you have to be a great role model. If you’re making good choices, it’s much easier for your child to make similarly good choices.

One final point before wrapping up today, there is a difference in the way that a mother is a parent and the way that a father is a parent.

The mother tends to offer much more nurturing, much more empathy, much more sympathy, much more compassion. She helps the child develop a lot of the depth of emotion. However, the father, being generally more masculine, tends to bring a lot more structure, maybe clearer focus, and of course his focus is more on rationality – on cause and effect.

I’m trying carefully not to be sexist or be polarizing or stereotypical, but generally there is a difference in the way that a mother and father raise a child. The father tends to be a lot stricter and the mother tends to be maybe more aware of the emotions of the child. How do you connect these two with what we’re talking about?

Number one, about the ability to choose and number two, that teaching children is very important because fathers sometimes will say, “You’re just playing games with me. I don’t care about your stories or your emotions. Just get in the room and clean up the room. Go and do it.”

Dr. Vicki: Well, I think you’re right that parents bring different things to the table. I think moms’ styles in general tend to be more nurturing and dads are maybe more disciplinary, but that’s a very sweeping generalization and I want to recognize that. But given that, I think that that’s okay as long as the parents are basically on the same page with what they want to teach their children, so as long as you’ve got the same kinds of expectations and the same kinds of responsibilities that you want to see your child have.

So your child is getting basically the same message. It may be done in a variety of ways. The dad might say, “Look, I don’t want to hear it. Get in there and clean up your room” and the mom is going “Oh, I know this is important for you, but I really need your room clean.” As long as they both get there, I think we’re okay.

But if dad’s saying, “I don’t want to hear it. Get in your room and clean it” and mom’s saying, “Oh, but honey, he’s had a rough day. You don’t have to clean your room yet,” then that’s a problem because the child is getting mixed messages and the parents are really sabotaging each other, so that’s where it’s really important no matter how you do it to make sure that as parents, we’re both heading in the same direction.

Patrick: Dr. Vicki is a child psychologist and a Founder and Director of the Better Parenting Institute. How would you sum up the key points? I’m going to try and then you can tell me if it’s correct or not.

Dr. Vicki: Okay.

Patrick: First thing you’re saying is yes, from a very young age, teach your child that they are special; they’re a great gift; They’re Divine; they’re a gift to the world and a gift to you. Then number two, recognize the difference between who they are in terms of the gift and their behavior, so you say to the child “I love you. I love the fact that you’re in the world. You’re a great gift to me. Now let’s talk about your behaviors.”

The third thing is teaching children that they have the right to choose in every moment and there are consequences for their choices. And then the fourth thing, help children to respect themselves, respect others, and help them to try and find meaning and purpose.

Is that correct? Is there something you’d like to add?

Dr. Vicki: Yes. The only thing I want to add to that ‘meaning and purpose’ is their meaning and purpose. It’s to what are they bringing. I think that it’s wonderful to feel good about yourself. “I’m a great person” because I want our kids to feel — when they’re messing up, the kid struck out of that. The kid went home with a failing grade. The kid had hit his brother and hurt him. I still want the kid to know that he’s an okay person. His behavior really needs to change, but I love the internal you. Now we’ve got to get rid of those behaviors. So yes, and to discover their inner self is a gift that we do as parents, is to help them discover who they are and to bring that to the world.

Patrick: I’ve always summed up the role of the parent as simply ‘to give everything to the child, give to the child everything that he or she needs to realize his or her full potential.’ One last point, when you talked there about the behaviors and “I love the person inside you”, are there not times that a child might do something that’s so severe that you’re not going to say “I love the person inside you. You’re so wonderful. Now let’s talk about your behavior.” Is there not going to be a level or a limit?

Dr. Vicki: From a parent standpoint, no. I think that we love our kids no matter what because they came from us and they’re a gift, but absolutely. I don’t think in every disciplinary action you’re necessarily going to have the inclination to say how much I love you when you are just angry and go, “Get out,” so I don’t think that we have to do that all the time, but I want the kids to know that intrinsically.


I want the kids to know that “I am valued” and that “I need to act on that value”, so yeah, there are times that parents are going to say, “Get out of my space. I don’t want to see you. I don’t want to talk to you right now. I’m so angry. I just want you out of here.” That’s perfectly understandable because kids can do some really horrendous things. So even if the parents are saying that, deep down, I don’t think that they would ever say “I don’t love my kid.”

Patrick: Okay. So probably the most potent and the most powerful words of wisdom that you’ve offered today is to help bring forth the inner value of the person, separate that from the behavior, and keep encouraging them to move in the direction of what is positive, empowering. And by continually reinforcing the inner value of the child, you can avoid narcissism and entitlement, correct?

Dr. Vicki: Absolutely correct.

Patrick: All right. This has been wonderful. I’m truly grateful, Dr. Vicki, because you really have brought some clarity to the topic. Obviously, it’s controversial and particularly coming from a perspective of men – we look at cause and effect as I said a moment ago, so sometimes we just put aside our emotion and say, “This is how it’s going to be done. It’s got to get done,” et cetera. And the way that you’ve explained it is truly empowering to say keep bringing forth the inner value of the child, the difference between their existence or who they are, and keep talking about or keep redirecting their behavior in a positive way or in a positive direction.

The, is that correct?

Dr. Vicki: Yes. They can find me at the  or on Facebook at AskDrVicki or on Twitter as well.

Patrick: AskDrVicki on Twitter and Facebook, and  Dr. Vicki Panaccione is a child psychologist, a wonderful parent and a wonderful person. Thank you very much for your time, your insights and your wisdom.

Dr. Vicki: It’s my pleasure always to have these discussions with you, Patrick. Thank you.

Patrick: Thank you.

To read Parts 1 and 2 of this transcript and interview Patrick Wanis PhD and Dr. Vicki Panaccione, click here:

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Part 2:

=>Listen interview of Patrick Wanis PhD and Dr. Vicki Panaccione

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