Gendered Parenting Roles And How To Change Them

For many years, society has held certain expectations about parenting roles – what it means to be a “good” mother or father. These expectations have been heavily influenced by gendered stereotypes, with mothers expected to be nurturing, emotional and responsible for the home and children, while fathers are expected to be the breadwinners, providing financial support and discipline when necessary. These traditional parenting roles have been challenged in recent years, but there is still much work to be done to create more equitable and flexible patterns of caregiving.

The Harmful Effects Of Gendered Parenting Roles

Gendered parenting roles can have a number of negative effects on both parents and children. Firstly, mothers are often expected to be the primary caregivers and to take on more of the childcare responsibilities, which can lead to feelings of exhaustion, overwhelm and stress. This can also limit their career prospects and financial independence, which can have long-term implications for their overall wellbeing.

For fathers, the pressure to be the breadwinner and provider can lead to workaholism, stress and a lack of work-life balance. It can also limit their ability to form close bonds with their children, which can have a negative impact on the emotional development of their children.

For children, gendered parenting roles can be harmful as well. It can reinforce traditional gender stereotypes, limiting their opportunities and reinforcing the idea that certain behaviours, emotions and traits are “masculine” or “feminine”. This can also limit their ability to form close and nurturing relationships with both parents, which can have negative effects on their overall emotional development.

Flexible And Equitable Parenting Roles

Flexible and equitable parenting roles are the key to creating a more just and balanced society. This means challenging traditional stereotypes about what it means to be a good parent and creating more room for experimentation and diversity in parenting practices. Below are some tips on how to make this happen:

1. Re-evaluate Your Priorities

Take a step back and re-evaluate your priorities as a parent. What is most important to you – being the breadwinner or being an involved caregiver? How can you balance your career with your caregiving responsibilities? Once you have clarity around your priorities, it will be easier to make meaningful changes to your parenting practices.

2. Share Responsibilities Equally

It is important to share responsibilities equally between both parents. This means both partners taking on caregiving responsibilities, including cooking, cleaning, bathing and feeding the children. It also means both partners taking an equal role in decision-making around parenting matters, such as discipline, education and healthcare.

3. Make Room For Flexibility

Parenting is not an exact science and there is no “right” way to do it. Flexibility is key to creating a more equitable and balanced approach to caregiving. This means being open to new ideas and experimenting with different approaches. It also means being willing to change your parenting practices as your children and circumstances change.

4. Challenge Gender Stereotypes

Gender stereotypes can be very powerful and can limit our ability to see the world in new and innovative ways. Challenging gender stereotypes is therefore key to creating a more equitable and flexible approach to parenting. This means being aware of the stereotypes that influence your parenting practices and actively working to challenge them.

5. Support Other Parents

Supporting other parents is key to creating a more equitable and just society. This means offering support and encouragement to other parents, sharing your experiences and insights, and being open to learning from others.


Gendered parenting roles have been a feature of society for far too long. These roles can limit parents’ ability to form close and nurturing relationships with their children, reinforce traditional gender stereotypes, and limit our ability to see the world in new and innovative ways. A flexible and equitable approach to caregiving is therefore crucial to creating a more just and balanced society. By challenging traditional stereotypes, sharing responsibilities equally, making room for flexibility, challenging gender stereotypes and supporting other parents, we can create a brighter and more equitable future for ourselves and our children.


What are gendered parenting roles?

Gendered parenting roles refer to how society expects mothers and fathers to behave and what tasks they are responsible for when raising children. Typically, mothers are expected to be caregivers and take care of household chores, while fathers are seen as providers and responsible for working outside of the home. These roles can be limiting and reinforce gender stereotypes.

Why is it important to change gendered parenting roles?

Changing gendered parenting roles is important because it allows parents to share responsibilities more equally, which can lead to happier and healthier families. It also helps to break down gender stereotypes and promotes gender equality. Children who grow up seeing their parents share household and caregiving responsibilities are more likely to adopt these patterns in their own lives.

How can we change gendered parenting roles?

One way to change gendered parenting roles is to start with communication. Parents should open up a dialogue about their expectations and work together to create a plan for sharing responsibilities. Society also needs to step up by promoting gender equality and supporting families. This can be achieved through policies such as paid parental leave and flexible work arrangements that allow both parents to have an equal role in parenting. Finally, it’s important to challenge gender stereotypes and promote diversity in media and education, so children can see different types of families and gender roles.


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