August 28, 2023 – More Busting Myths & Lies from Prof. Nielsen
Gene C. Colman Introduction: Let’s continue our dive into excerpts from Prof. Linda Nielsen’s latest book, “Myths and Lies About Dads”. It’s those myths, stereotypes and outright lies about dads that tend to form powerful blockages against legislating a rebuttable presumption of Equal Shared Parenting. And while Prof. Nielsen not only shatters those myths, she expertly amasses a wealth of solid social science data that supports the key importance of both parents in their children’s lives. Throughout, the bolding and italics are mine.
Here is today’s highlighted myth – lie: Maternal Instinct: Fathers are “Instinct” challenged, bless their little hearts.
From page 52:
Even if maternal instinct is nothing more than an old wives’ tale, what harm can it do? Quite a bit, as we can see. The myth feeds the false assumption that fathers are less competent and less attached to their baby. And too many new mothers feel guilty, ashamed, and depressed because they can’t live up to the maternal instinct myth. If either parent believes women have an instinct for parenting that men lack, the dad is likely to feel less confident, less competent, and less necessary. Instead of stepping up or taking the lead in taking care of their baby, he is apt to step back. And his stepping back reinforces the stereotype that men don’t know how to take care of babies and aren’t deeply attached to their newborns. The myth benefits no one– not the mom, or the dad or the baby. The mom needs a full-fledged parenting partner, not a self-doubting sidekick. And the baby needs a fully-engaged, confident father. In short, the myth of maternal instinct is not a harmless.
Stay tuned to upcoming ESP Thoughts of the Day for more insightful excerpts from Prof. Nielsen’s book.
Gene C. Colman comments further
How challenging it indeed is to achieve some sort of reasonable parenting time for dad who does not live with mom! Of course breast feeding presents challenges in devising a schedule. We admit that. But we also know that dad has a great deal to add to an infant’s development and growth. The myths, lies and stereotypes that permeate child parenting law in Canada have to be abolished (as best we can). Babies need their daddies just as they surely need their mommies. It’s time for an attitudinal switch, Canada. Anybody listening?