Partnership Parenting: How Men and Women Parent Differently—Why It Helps Your Kids and Can Strengthen Your Marriage
by Kyle and Marsha Pruett
In a papal address to families in the Philippines, Pope Francis reminded the faithful, “the complementarity of man and woman is the root of marriage and family.” In their book, Partnership Parenting: How Men and Women Parent Differently—Why It Helps Your Kids and Can Strengthen Your Marriage, Kyle and Marsha Pruett draw upon the unique strengths of mothers and fathers to underline the importance of parenting as mutual, complementary partners. When difficult situations arise in marriage, couples should not only have recourse to the outpouring of grace available through the sacrament of matrimony, but also seek out resources and practical advice from the wisdom of others in the Body of Christ. One such resource available to couples is the book by Kyle and Marsha Pruett.
Marriage and parenthood is a marvelous adventure, but not without its challenges. Partnership Parenting provides direction and researched advice to couples experiencing the ups and downs of parenthood. The Pruett couple has years of professional and personal experience as well as clinical research to offer parents. Their book contains rich insight into the complementarity of mothers and fathers and the benefit it brings to their children. It also emphasizes the importance of a couple’s strong relationship as a fundamental component of a child’s healthy development. The Pruetts show that parents in strong, healthy marriages—supportive partnerships rooted in mutual respect—are more likely to raise emotionally healthy children.
The first part of the book focuses on how parents can build a strong partnership founded on a deep appreciation of the unique contribution each partner brings to parenting. The Pruetts share fascinating research on how fathers and mothers each play different, but essential roles in their child’s development. Noting a lack of guidance for dads in other parenting books, Partnership Parenting emphasizes the importance of involved and engaged fathers, offering solid advice and encouragement to dads on how best to embrace their essential role in the partnership.
Another characteristic of a strong parenting partnership is a couple’s intimacy. The chapter on managing conflict offers crucial advice on how to keep a marriage strong even when the couple encounters conflict while parenting. New and experienced parents alike will especially benefit from the tips provided on healthy communication.
Disagreement is normal in any relationship and the numerous stories of real-life couples—drawn from the Pruetts years of clinical work—allow the readers to glean wisdom and insights from disagreements experienced by other couples. The Pruetts also include a thorough survey in chapter six that will help couples discuss their assumptions about parenting and learn about each other’s unique perspectives. This type of communication is crucial to a healthy marriage and family, because as the authors note, “Children know and deeply appreciate when parents show each other respect, positive attitudes, and affection for each other over ire—even when they disagree. That teaches kids that differences are not deficiencies. And as children grow older, they feel proud to have bits and pieces of both parents inside them to count on.”
The second part of the book guides parents through some of the common challenges of parenthood: namely discipline, care and feeding, sleep, safety and education. Couples will receive sound advice from these experts on how best to utilize both partners’ parenting styles to navigate each of these areas. In the chapter on discipline, the Pruetts share their expert opinions on matters such as spanking, spoiling, bribery, and positive reinforcement. They encourage couples to present a unified front before the child despite their differences of opinion within the parenting partnership, highlighting how his unity is most beneficial to the child.
Sleep is often a top concern, and also a common source of contention for new parents. Often parents come to the marriage with their own preconceived notions about how and where a baby or toddler should sleep. A couple working as a team and using the proper tools of communication can work through this important issue with mutual respect for each other, regardless of their difference in opinions. Couples will appreciate the section on common sleep problems and their solutions; using the points considered as a great discussion starter. The chapters on safety and education provide great topics to discuss as well.
Partnership Parenting fortifies couples in their relationship by providing insight into the unique strengths of both the mother and father. The Pruetts also covers other important topics of discussion and provides questions and surveys to help foster deep communication between the couple so they can foster intimacy and strength in their marriage, while meeting their parenting goals. A strong co-parenting relationship—vital to the health of the family and ultimately, society—requires planning, work, friendship, and mutual respect. Parents interested in raising happy kids in a happy marriage will find a thorough guide with a great deal of practical advice and numerous real-life examples in the Pruett’s book, Partnership Parenting: How Men and Women Parent Differently—Why It Helps Your Kids and Can Strengthen Your Marriage.
About the Reviewer
Kathleen O’Beirne is a wife, mother of five, a freelance writer, and works as a volunteer in the Marriage Preparation Program for the Diocese of Arlington in Virginia.
Disclaimer: Book reviews do not imply and are not to be used as official endorsement by the USCCB of the work or those associated with the work. Book reviews are solely intended as a resource regarding publications that might be of interest to For Your Marriage visitors.