Just as there is no doubt that mothers and fathers are physically different, there is no question that they have different parenting styles. While it’s common for studies to focus on the rearing practices of mothers, Jeremy G. Schneider,a marriage and family therapist, in his article, “Fathers are Not Like Mothers…But Together They Make a Great Team” on the site JGS.com, states that the combination of parenting techniques that mothers and fathers exercise complement each other and can help a child’s development.
When a mother plays with her child, she’s more likely to use toys or props and spend more time talking. On the other hand, a father is more likely to participate in more physical activities, like playing with his child on the playground, rolling around on the floor or tickling his kid. While the mother’s form of play helps enhance a child’s cognitive and social development, the father’s helps with physical development and coordination.
Mothers tend to use “baby talk” even with older children, according to the University of Missouri’s article “How Moms and Dads Parent.” Dads also use “baby talk” when their children are infants, but then switch to longer sentences and “bigger” words as the child grows. When a mother talks to her child, she tends to ask a lot of questions, be repetitive and offer more explanations. Schneider states that fathers are more demanding when it comes to his child’s language use. For example, he may want his child to use her words instead of whine or cry. Sue Shellenbarger, in the “Wall Street Journal” article “Parenting Styles: Dad Challenges, While Mom Calms,” explains that dads may act in this manner because they generally spend less time with their children and are, therefore, less familiar with their nonverbal cues.
Mothers generally offer more immediate support when a child feels frustrated, cries or exhibits other dependent behaviors. For example, if a mother hears her baby cry while she’s in the shower, she may end the shower as quickly as possible so she can pick up her child. On the other hand, a dad may simply peek in on the child to make sure she’s safe, but then finish his shower.
A mother’s behavior is generally more consistent and predictable than a father's. For example, moms tend to pick up small children in the same manner regardless of the reason, according the University of Missouri. Alternatively, fathers tend to use unconventional behaviors with their children that are less predictable. A dad may use more humor or make daily activities feel like play. When a father picks up his child, he does so differently each time, according to the purpose.