Staff relationships with both fathers and mothers are equally important. You can play a central role by recognizing and supporting a father's caring and responsive relationship with his child. One of the most important ways you can engage fathers is to connect with them about their child's everyday experiences. For example, children in your care sometimes get sick. When that happens and both parents work, who are you more likely to call first—the mother or the father?
All providers—both women and men—care deeply about the children they teach and nurture. Since the majority of early childhood providers are women, we may see general patterns in their communications with mothers and fathers. For instance, when providers talk with mothers, they may more easily establish a bond based upon their shared care and education of the child. With more consistent consideration and intention, such bonds can also be established with fathers.
There are countless situations that offer chances to connect with a parent. Celebrate a child's success, share a story about the day, or express a concern. If you were to stop and think about interactions between staff and parents after such events, who are you more likely to see involved in these conversations? Mothers, fathers, or both parents?
Communicating with mothers may happen more often for many reasons. For example, a mother might consider herself to be a single parent, and a provider may not wish to appear disrespectful by wondering about the role of the father in the child's life. There may be cultural considerations affecting which parent is most often engaged in communication. Many female caregivers simply feel more comfortable communicating with another woman. Still other reasons may be more personal for caregivers. For example, what are one's beliefs about the role of men in childrearing? What familial and prior relationship experiences have shaped the lives of caregivers? How might these experiences influence professional communication decisions and practices?
Resource Type: Article
National Centers: Parent, Family and Community Engagement
Last Updated: December 3, 2019