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Good Dad or Bad Dad? Who Criticizes the Parenting Methods?

01.08.2019 Author: Psychologist Pavel Khoroshutin
Fathers and Sons

More than half of fathers are used to hearing criticism about their parenting methods

Every year on the third Sunday in June, Father’s Day is celebrated all over the world. The dad’s role in raising a child is undeniable. A father provides an example for his son and a reference image of a man for his daughter. He is a source of protection and support, an authority, and a friend. However, due to the need for the financial support of the family, fathers often participate much less in raising children than mothers, and sometimes even less than other family members. In those moments when the father manifests himself as an authoritative figure, that is, he disciplines the child and makes important decisions about them, those around him begin to interfere and criticize his approach to education and other aspects of child development. 

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According to a national survey conducted by the Ch. S. Mott Children’s Hospital in the USA, more than half of fathers face critical opinions about their parenting methods. 

Who criticizes the most?

  • 44 % — wife;
  • 24 % — parents;
  • 10 % — other people;
  • 9 % — friends;
  • 5 % — doctors and teachers.

What are the fathers criticized for?

  • 67 % — for disciplining;
  • 43 % — for food issues;
  • 32 % — for lack of attention;
  • 32 % — for severity;
  • 24 % — for an improper bedtime for the children;
  • 23 % — for the child’s appearance;
  • 19 % — for endangering the safety of the child. 

These criticisms cause a whole spectrum of reactions in fathers. Some perceive the comments positively and are ready to change for the benefit of the growing child, others become ashamed, and some become uncertain of their role as a mentor. 43% of fathers consider the criticism to be generally unfair. At the same time, 2 out of 5 fathers, after comments on a certain topic, will try to figure out where they went wrong, ask for advice or turn to other sources of information. Conversely 1 out of 5 dads will resent the unsolicited advice and criticism, causing rejection and a reduction in the desire to be involved in parenting issues.

How to feed children, how to dress them, when should they go to bed – everyone considers it necessary to “give a piece of advice” to the dad or just to relate what they think is right. This creates uncertainty in fathers about the correctness of their decisions and causes a sense of guilt. It is important to be able to overcome these doubts. Sometimes it is prudent to listen to the advice since anyone can be wrong, yet if you are the father, no one knows your child better than you do, and the final decision is still yours.