Can you think of something that doesn’t have an opposite? Opposites are usually necessary for balance and for choice. There is a yin and a yang, yes and no, off and on, a right and a wrong, a left and a right, an up and a down, a safe and an out, a back and forth, day and night, lost and found, man and woman, a mother and a father.
You can’t always say ‘yes’, that’s why there is a ‘no’. You aren’t always ‘on’ nor are you always ‘right’. There wouldn’t be a ‘found’ if there wasn’t a ‘lost’. In baseball, if everyone was ‘safe’, the game would never end. If everyone was ‘out’, no one would ever win. ‘Left’ is a choice because otherwise you could only go ‘right’ and, therefore, in circles.
Sometimes it just takes two! It takes two to play catch. It takes two to carry a stretcher. It takes two to play checkers. It takes two, a man and woman, to create a child. Isn’t it wonderful when we parent by twos? And it would be helpful if there were differences between the parents because each could supplement the other’s weaknesses and learn from their strengths? By differences I don’t mean disagreements. I mean different approaches, different personalities, and different relationships.
As an example, a mother is more likely to sympathize with a child while a father is more likely to challenge him or her. Sometimes one method works better, and sometimes the other method does. Relationships between a mother and her children are different than the relationships between a father and his children. For instance, look at this scenario of a son announcing that he is going to his prom.
“Hey Dad, I decided to go to the prom.”
“Well, it’s going to take a lot of charm to get a date with a mug like yours!” teases the dad.
“Oh yeah, well somehow it worked for you!” the son responds with a smile.
Fathers and sons with good relationships are known to tease each other. If a mother had given the same response as the dad, the son may have been stunned. Most moms will not tease like that or even think it is funny when the dad does it. Certainly the father could have been supportive in a traditional way. “That’s wonderful son!” But often dads let mom say that while the dad is more light-hearted.
Similarly, there are things moms can discuss with their daughters that would be quite out of place for a dad or awkward for him and his daughter. Each parent can fill different roles.
Too often, in our society, we raise our children with one parent missing. This is never a good thing for the child. Sometimes it can’t be helped due to uncontrollable circumstances. Most of the time, however, it’s a decision--will or will not.
1) Yes, I will be involved no matter what; or
2) No, it’s too hard for me to be involved because ____________.
The reasons there are single parent families are many. Here are a few:
- Sadly, one parent may have passed away.
- One parent may be totally incapable of being a good influence.
- One parent may not like the other parent.
- One parent may not be interested or understand their importance.
- One parent may be afraid of the responsibility.
We need to eliminate the issues we have some control over to give our kids their best shot for a normal life and the tools for success. Most of us can agree it is best to have a pair of parents to parent (pairenting!) The intent of my book is to help with #4 and #5. I’m not sure what can be done about #2 and #3 except to prevent those situations from occurring in the future by raising good, rational people.
It takes two, baby! Me and you!