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Why Dad's Parenting Technique Can Be Better

Fancy Photography for Veer

Trusts himself more than the experts

"My wife can be a little anal about following advice, but I'm more likely to feel that we know what's best for us," says Clark Avery of San Francisco, dad of 14-month-old Andee. "I go back to: If you're asking me to do something different from what I normally do, is there proof to show why the new way is better? If not, then it's just a matter of opinion."

Why moms are different: Renner says that this is a typical split (after all, guys won't ask for directions, either): "Women are more sensitive to getting it 'right,' since it used to be if anything's wrong with the child, the mother's to blame. Also, they tend to compare notes with other parents more than dads do."

Dealing with the difference: There's a time and place to get help and information from others, but it's also good to have the confidence to rely on your own instincts. In the end, no one knows your kids better than you.

The last time I took Sylvia to get her ears checked for an infection, the doctor said, "She doesn't have one yet, but with her history, I think you should fill the prescription now and give it to her when it's gotten worse." That's when I decided to be more like Aron and not follow her advice (at least this time). Because I'm less concerned with being "right" in the eyes of the authority figure these days than I am with doing what's right for my child (even if it means I have to drag her back, screaming, for another ear check).

Ignores the details

"I dress my daughter often," says Al Weiss of Tinton Falls, New Jersey, dad of 11-month-old Elisabeth. "I might put certain clothes on backward because I can't find a tag. My wife will say, 'This goes with that.' But as long as my daughter is warm and happy, I am too."

Why moms are different: "Moms' routines and standards probably spring from their feeling the responsibility for everything to be perfect," Renner says. "And let's face it, no one is thinking, 'Why did her dad dress her in that?'"

Dealing with the difference: I probably care more about how Sylvia looks than I do about myself (scratch that: I definitely care more about Sylvia). But I've been able to strike this deal with Aron: On the days when he's doing kid duty, he gets complete dibs on her wardrobe, and I say nothing.

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