Men and Women React Differently to Parenting Stress

Children add both joy and stress to your life. Gender differences between men and women affect how each responds to that stress. Understanding these differences and providing the support your partner needs can make the difference between a relationship that grows and one that falls apart.

Additional Stress from Children

Dr. John Medina describes the additional stress babies bring in his book Brain Rules for Baby. "For most first-time moms and dads, the first shock is the overwhelmingly relentless nature of this new social contract. The baby takes. The parent gives. End of story. What startles many couples is the excruciating toll it can take on their quality of life - especially their marriages."

Having children increases stress due to things like:
  • Lack of sleep
  • Increased chores
  • Decreased personal time
  • Needing to set limits on children's behavior
  • Responding to challenging situations like teens making poor choices
Medina goes on to say "By the late 1980's and 90's, investigations in 10 industrialized countries, including the United States, demonstrated that marital satisfaction for most men and women dropped after they had their first child - and continue to fall over the next 15 years. Things didn't improve for most couples until the kids left home." Yikes!

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