Men and women have different and unique parenting styles and skills. The relationship each parent has with their child contributes to how they turn out. New research from the Papa Bear Initiative shows that Fathers parent differently in that, they have a clear way of communicating and interacting with children. Mothers tend to simplify whatever they are saying to the level of the child, are more personal and verbally encouraging while fathers are briefer, direct and to the point. The mother’s way of communicating encourages instant communication while the father’s way challenges the child to improve their vocabulary and linguistic skills. This can subconsciously challenge the child which in turn increases critical thinking skills.


Mothers and fathers have different ways of playing with kids. Fathers tend to play with children while mothers tend to be more caring. Fathers are known for tickling and wrestling their children more, throwing them in the air when chasing their children around while mothers are known to cuddle their children more. Fathers advocate for competition and independence more while mothers advocate for equity and security. Based on the different ways that fathers play, children learn that kicking, biting and other forms of physical violence are wrong thus teaching them self-control by being told when ‘when enough is enough’. Fathers assist their children in striking a healthy balance between aggression and timidity.


Fathers are more inclined to building confidence. This is because fathers often motivate children to push their limits while mothers are more inclined to caution. Each of these parenting styles without being complemented by the other can be unhealthy. This is because one of the styles focuses on encouraging risk without thinking of the results while the other discourages risk which can discourage independence and confidence. When put together, the styles balance each other out.


When it comes to disciplining children, fathers emphasize on responsibility, equity and fairness based on rules while mothers emphasize on compassion and care based on relationships. When mothers show compassion in the middle of disobedience, it brings a sense of hopefulness. Fathers on the other hand are more keen on following the rules sternly hence teaching children the repercussions of right and wrong.


Children that grow up with their father present are more conversant and confident when it comes to dealing with men. Girls with present and involved fathers have healthier and more confident interactions with boys in adolescence and men in adulthood. This is because girls get to learn from their fathers how men should behave towards women. Boys who grow up with their father’s present have lower chances of being violent as they are affirmed about their masculinity and they understand how to channel their strength positively.


Fatherhood influences child development outcomes in ways that motherhood presence does not. This influence extends all the way into adulthood. Research shows that the quality of engagement is a more important factor than quantity; in other words, how engaged, involved, and present the father is during each interaction is more important than the frequency of the interactions with children. However, presence is not enough, a study of South African fathers showed that the presence of a father does not necessarily guarantee a warm and loving home environment. In fact, some fathers are a negative influence on their children and provide a hostile and damaging environment.