In the best case scenario, children grow up in a home with two parents. Often those two parents exhibit toward their children and toward each other different levels of affection, influenced by a number of factors: Different innate personalities, different family backgrounds, personal histories, etc. Children therefore have two examples constantly before them to either imitate or rebel against.
So there I was, 49 years old, after a first failed marriage, with no children, and sure that parenting was a closed book for me. And then-- "Guess what you are getting for your 50th birthday"-- said the love of my life. "By the look in your eyes, it is something really special," I replied. "Yes, you are going to be a father." I was thrilled by the idea. But being an only child myself, what did I know about babies? During the next nine months I learned a lot.
Whether you're the type of person who likes to learn a little about a subject or someone who goes whole hog, try massage. Now seen by some as a true holistic alternative medicine, the types and purposes of massage are varied enough to appeal to most anyone. An upstate New York teacher says her husband goes every week for an hour and a half.
"I'd like to be more involved with my kids." "I'm afraid of holding the baby and that bothers me. You know, I wouldn't even mind changing his diaper once in a while!" "I want my kids to feel closer to me than I felt towards my father." Well, as psychologists involved in child development, all we can say is - Great! Both mothers and fathers can provide rich experiences for their children and each can use his or her unique personality and style to enhance each child's development. Psychologists are still debating whether women and men have different biological instincts. One study found that in our society and culture most girls, from an early age, have many more experiences of "parenting" than boys.
If anything in our society has truly become equal opportunity in the '90's, it has to be parenthood. We are slowly being introduced to a new family order where our functions as parents are not dictated by maternal or paternal inclinations but rather by a sharing of all duties. The jobs and responsibilities of child rearing in the 90's are no longer delineated by gender but by availability and proximity. Diaper changes are decided by the "Who smelled it first" dictum, and not by the "My father never did this so why should I?" defense of years gone by. Even the laws of nature are being challenged and changed.
Upon the birth of my youngest child, my older daughter told me, "She is lucky to be born in this period of your life". There is a 17-year difference between my two daughters. I have often thought about this, and, over the years, have come to the conclusion that each one of our children is mothered according to where we are in our growth process when we give birth to that child.
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