The Daddy Way

James Mehring

I am finding more differences in how Lyn and I handle situations with our toddler. For instance, when our daughter starts crying in the middle of the night, I am more apt to wait a minute of two before jumping out of bed while my wife tends to bounce out of bed and rush to the crib. Lyn keeps things moving at night so that our daughter gets to bed by 8:30, while I tend ignore the clock in the evening. And I probably give our daughter more latitude to do things like climb up our porch steps or slide off our bed—although, I make sure that I am right beside her. These are all things that irk Lyn to varying degrees.

It seems that I am not alone. No, not that I drive my wife crazy at times. It turns out, according to an article written by Emily Bloch in the June issue of Parenting Magazine, that I share some parenting traits of other fathers.

Here is the list of those “Daddy Differences”:

*Lets kids take risks
*Trusts himself more than experts
*Ignores the details
*Acts like a kid
*Waits before he jumps in
*Doesn’t make a bid deal over every battle

It’s reassuring to know that there are people like me out there and some who even think there is some value in what I am doing. I sometimes wonder if I am not being a good parent. Is the tradeoff of learning to how to get off the couch or climb a step worth the risk of a sore bottom or a scraped knee? Am I throwing off my daughter’s sleeping pattern by keeping her up an extra 20 minutes some nights and how bad is that? Do inconsistencies in how Lyn and I handle situations send mixed messages to our daughter or make parenting harder for Lyn? These are things have crossed my mind after the fact but in the moment it doesn’t seem so bad.

There is another observation that I completely related to. Ms. Bloch writes, “Lately, I've noticed that a funny thing happens when I lay off the judgment: Aron and I are more likely to be open to trying the other's approach.” That’s how things seem to work at home with us as well.

At the same time, I am a little skeptical of such blanket ascriptions. When it comes to acting like a kid and being silly, Lyn is just as whacky as me. And both of us have areas where we consistently hold the line. I am more strict about TV, for instance.

I am curious about whether other Moms and Dads agree with the traits above. Or are there other parenting differences you have noticed with your spouse or friends?

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