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In this week’s YouTube video chat, Dr. Laura Schlessinger addresses an unnatural new development of modern life: stay-at-home dads. What are the possible psychological effects of this strange permutation of the traditional child-rearing arrangement? A listener writes in Thinking of the Children:
If a mom works, and the dad stays home with the children, does this have any psychological effect on the kids, with respect to their relationships later in life? You talk a lot about stay-at-home-moms, but I don’t recall hearing much about what happens when the roles are reversed. Is it better for boys if the dad stays home or does it matter?
Dr. Laura, for her part, is far more concerned with Thinking Of the Wives:
This is one which gets very sensitive, because in general—-that means there are exceptions everywhere, OK—-when the moms are working, and the dads are at home, the moms, the women, the wives, tend to change their feelings somewhat about their husbands. They tend not to see them as the heroes. The warrior. The man. The caretaker. The provider. The protector. And those feelings are really very significant. And I have found over the years that there often is more marital strife when the roles are reserved. Whether you’re a feminist or not, whether you like it or not, them’s just the facts.
You see, when a woman wanders outside her natural role as child-rearer and housekeeper and enters into the dangerous world of the male warrior heroes, she’s liable to start getting some Ideas. Ideas like, “Despite what I’ve been told, my feeble female brain can perform tasks outside of raising babies.” Ideas like, “This is the ‘work’ my husband has been self-importantly occupying himself with for all these years? All these people do is dick around and watch YouTube videos.” Ideas like, “Now that I’m getting paid for all the work I do, perhaps I shouldn’t have settled for that loveless marriage after all.”
But never fear: As long as women agree to leave the home without applying their critical thinking skills, the kids will be all right:
Now: it often works very well. And when it works very well—-OK, when it works very well it’s good for the kids, when it doesn’t work very well, it’s not good for the kids. The point is not, are the rolls reversed and is that good for the children? The point is, are the parents RHHHHGGG about it? Is dad being treated with less respect? Is mom coming home sort of bitter that she’s not with the kids, and feeling like since she earns the money, she’s the boss? If there is this kind of negativity and dissention, that hurts the kids.
In other words, are you still treating mom like a woman (with less respect), and dad like a man (the boss)? You’re good to go. But once mom starts to get empowered by her new position—-or dad starts feeling emasculated—-it’s back to the kitchen with her.