Men and women parent differently. How can we appreciate our spouse’s style without trying to change it? Focus on the Family’s Dr. Greg Smalley, with his wife Erin, talk about how God wired fathers and mothers to relate to their children.
As parent, raising a child of the opposite gender can be tricky, but not impossible. According to Erin Smalley, being willing to appropriately leave your comfort zone to connect with your child is essential.
“It’s important for me to step out you know and get down and dirty with the playing with him.” – Erin Smalley
When a mother reaches out to her son to connect with him on his level, it is important for a father to teach his son that he should treat his mother, and other women, differently than he treats other boys.
“Greg and I will get out on the basketball court and it’s a great way to connect with him but even on the court he treats me differently than he treats his Dad.”
Erin talked about a great “down and dirty experience” she had climbing Pike’s Peak with her son.
“It was awesome and he waited for me at the top to summit because he knew that’s what a man does, he knew that he should support me and coming up and over the ledge.”
Erin’s son didn’t know to do that by accident. Careful teaching and modeling from both Erin and Greg and some help from the Holy Spirit guiding their son in the path of righteousness helped him become the kind of son who valued his mother enough to care for her in that way.
Greg Smalley shed some light on the difference between what girls need to thrive and boys need to flourish.
“A father should be his daughter’s first love and his son’s first hero.” – Greg Smalley
Sons and daughters alike yearn for love for their father and mother. However, they also have unique longings that each parent must fill.
“My girls need to know they are deeply, deeply loved, valued, and pursued by me.”
Girls want to know that they are lovely, beautiful and worth their fathers attention. Many bad relationships could be prevented if fathers had given their daughters the love and attention they long for before they went looking for it in other places.
“Our sons need to know that their daddy is well-pleased.”
Boys yearn to know their father is pleased with them and that their dad believes they have what it takes to succeed in this life.