If you’re a new dad - congratulations! Guess what? Dads are more likely than moms to feel the pangs of self-doubt and worry that they’re not ready – or qualified – to be a parent. Here’s the kicker - their wives are partly to blame! According to a study in the Journal of Family Psychology, when a mother criticizes her partner's child-care efforts, it often causes him to lose confidence and to stop trying to take care of the baby. However, when she praises the dad's efforts, he takes a more active parenting role.
In the study, couples were interviewed before the baby was born. Most of them said they believed that fathers and mothers should spend equal amounts of time with their children - and take an equal role in caring for them. Then, when the baby was 3 or 4 months old, researchers returned for a family visit. They asked the couple to change the baby into a new outfit, and watched how the mom and dad interacted. Did the mom completely take over, while the dad stepped back? Did they work together? Or did dad take an active role? The result:
The dads who knew what they were doing – and were experts at changing a baby’s clothes – had wives who encouraged and complimented them as they worked. The dads who looked less confident had a partner who criticized their methods the entire time – or even got exasperated, and insisted on finishing the job themselves. So, ladies – if you want your husband to be a doting, caring father – let him take care of the baby without criticism. Yes, even if he’s not doing things your way. As long as the baby’s not in danger, he or she will have a more confident and devoted father in the long run.