How to Avoid Default Parent Syndrome


We need to talk about a phenomenon that frequently happens in parenting.

It is referred to as default parent syndrome.

The scenario we’re referring to is when one parent assumes responsibility for the child’s care while the other parent acts as a backup.

It has been noticed by certain publications, websites and general media. They note that the primary parent is often angry with the alternate parent. This is a downside of dynamic primary/alternate parenting.

Even if it is possible to understand this discussion just by learning the definitions of the word’s “default” and “back-up,” we’ll take a moment to make sure we’re all on the same page.

The parent who does the bulk of parenting duties on a daily basis is considered to be the default parent. The default parent prepares breakfast, prepares lunches, handles the majority of school pick-ups and carpooling, assists with homework, and is familiar with the children’s schedules without consulting a calendar. When the primary parent is absent, ill, or in need of some assistance, the backup parent fills in. The child’s default parent shares the majority of their struggles as well as their major and minor accomplishments. On weekends, off days, and holidays, the backup parent frequently looks after the kids while the primary parent does so the rest of the time.

Sometimes parents adopt this viewpoint and accept it as an inescapable reality. They are convinced that all they need to do is acknowledge their responsibility and accept the circumstances.

1. Awareness

Simply acknowledging this fact and putting it on the table will go a long way toward preventing any animosity if the financial circumstances of the family require that one parent work full time while the other parent stays at home and handles the majority of the childcare responsibilities. Each parent must be aware that the other is contributing to the family in some way. The financial side of the equation is handled by the working parent, while the domestic side is handled by the stay-at-home parent. Each parent should also be aware of the equal importance of both roles. The kids wouldn’t have access to the necessities without a daily caregiver. The necessities, however, would not be available to donate if there was no one to support the family. Neither is more crucial than the other because they are both vital.

2. Appreciation

Both parents must value each other’s contributions for a healthy parenting and relationship dynamic to exist. That’s not all, though. In order for the family to function, both parents must express to the other that they recognize and appreciate everything they do. And you can avoid the problems of the default/back-up dynamic by sending a card, giving a modest gift, or making a kind gesture.

3. Teamwork

Being a part of a team can help you succeed in life. In terms of parenting, it’s crucial to start out by putting your family as a team first. Every step of the default/back-up trap typically begins with nocturnal feeding and diaper changes. The beginning of ill will frequently occurs around this time. The parent who performs the most diaper changes may feel as though they are due something, which eventually breeds resentment. In order to prevent this, prospective parents should keep in mind that the formative years of their child or children should be approached collaboratively.

4. Pattern Busting

Change it up. It’s beneficial for parents to become aware of the tendencies they’re developing whenever possible. In this way, people can alter them before they become unchangeable due to habit. If one parent performs the majority of the cooking, the other parent should step in at least occasionally. Or, if one parent takes care of all the carpooling, the other parent should, if their schedules permit, take care of it occasionally. If one parent assists with all of the homework, the other parent may occasionally step in and assist.

Without any type of labor division, it is almost impossible to make a family work. Parenting is a legitimate role. There is absolutely nothing wrong with one parent handling the majority of child care while the other parent handles everything else.

That is, until one parent develops resentment and harbors grudges for a long time, or until one parent fails to recognize the contributions made by the other parent.

Only when the parents are unable to interact with one another is the default/backup dynamic harmful. The good news is that the default/backup dynamic can be seen as a conjurer’s trick. Consequently, it can only trick you if you are unaware of what is happening. You can alter something if you can see it.

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