Are Men “Naturally” Bad Caregivers?

I’m a horrible father.

The thought kept ping-ponging in my mind after shoving my bawling 5 year old son into his kindergarten class.

This morning he decided that he wanted to ride his scooter to school rather than his bike. I told him that the bike was quicker, but he started whining, so I let him take the scooter. 18 minutes into trek, he starts whining again, “Daddy, I’m tired. I want to stop.”

We are 10 minutes away from the school which starts in 8 minutes.


Happier times before scooters became an instrument of torture.

“I told you to take the bike. You better hurry up; we only have 8 minutes to get there,” I yelled while continuing to walk at a brisk pace.

For the next 10 minutes, my son screamed at the top of his lungs, “Daaaaddddy. Stoooop. Daaaaddddy. I’m tired.”

By the time we got to the school, all the other kids were already in the classroom and all the parents were staring at my son who had thrown his scooter down and started screaming, “I don’t want to go to school.”

I did what any father would do–grabbed him by the arm and shoved him into the classroom.

When he came out following me, I yelled, “You better get back in there, or I’m canceling your birthday party.”

Then I jumped on the scooter and preceded to ride home. After two blocks, my thighs started to burn like I was doing squats shouldering 200 lbs. I finally had to stop and just walk after 5 minutes on that tortuous toy.

My son’s legs must have been on fire after 25 minutes of continuous pushing. His cries for help were legitimate. Why couldn’t I hear them?

Walking home I realized that as man, I have been programmed to ignore cries for help. In fact, my first reaction to a whine is anger.

“Shut up before I give you something to really cry about” was how my cries of pain were consoled when I was a kid.

I thought about how I asked the referee “High kicking?” with a smirk on my face when I roundhouse kicked another 12 year old  kid in the face during a soccer game.

I thought about how I yelled at my wife the exact number of dirty diapers I changed compared to her when she was suffering postpartum depression after the birth of our first son.

In 1979, Dustin Hoffman in Kramer vs. Kramer asked, “What law is it that says that a woman is a better parent simply by virtue of her sex?” 34 years later, I realize that the answer to that question is “the law of Patriarchy” (although I also realize that assuming women are “naturally” better caregivers is a part of patriarchy).

Patriarchy makes men less compassionate towards the suffering of others. In a dog-eat-dog world, we can’t stop to help others. We got places to go and people to see. The person you help today might be the person who beats you tomorrow.

I hate to admit it, but one of my favorite movies is Top Gun. When Maverick refuses to engage after the death of his best friend Goose, we mentally throw our hands up in the air just like the Commanding Officer in the film. “God damn it, Maverick.”

But when he shrugs off his feelings and reengages the fight we all applaud and cheer like in every other Tom Cruise or Bruce Willis movie. Don’t even get me started on Arnold Schwartzennegger and Keanu Reeves. I used to think that they were bad actors, but then I realized that they are just good men–completely detached from their emotions.

Clinical counselor, therapist, and blogger, Scott Williams claims that the biggest complaint he gets about men is that they are not emotionally available. “The one thing men generally give the least is emotional connection.” Although I do cultivating compassion meditation everyday, I still refused to empathize with my son, no matter how loud he screamed.

In my defense, very few of the images of men I was raised with reacted to pain and suffering with compassion and empathy. Pain and suffering were obstacles you had to overcome to be the best you could be.

Like the boys in Steubenville and Saratoga, I’ve felt just like the younger private in A Few Good Men. “What did we do wrong? We did nothing wrong.”

“Yeah, we did. We were suppose to fight for people who couldn’t fight for themselves”…like passed out women and children in physical pain. The writer Aaron Sorkin had it right: There are only a “Few Good Men.” I’m working towards being one of the Few, the Proud, the Compassionate.

Thank you for reading, sharing, and/or smiling.

Do you think that men are socialized to be less compassionate than women? Please share.





71 comments on “Are Men “Naturally” Bad Caregivers?

  1. Your self-awareness and reflection makes you a good man too! Namaste _/l\_

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Thanks, Julianne. I still felt horrible walking home after I realized my lack of compassion for my son. 😦 I hope that posts like this will remind me to practice what I preach. I apologized to my son when I picked him up and gave him a kiss. It felt refreshing. {{{Hugs]}} kozo

      • Stuck Sucks says:

        That’s why I love that this site is “everyday” gurus… Those of us committed to self-evolution are simply trying to get it right every day. It can be a struggle since we are still human, and what is so fabulous about your experience (beyond the total honesty) is that you see it and you apologized. That, for me, is practicing what you preach. The goal is not perfection, but deep love for self and others, and that love accepts our humanness. Thank you for your honesty and for this site. {{{Hugs to you}}}

      • Kozo Hattori says:

        Thank you, Being Stuck Sucks, Yes, it is a day by day practice, just like meditation is a practice. I love your observation that “the goal is not perfection, but deep love for self and others.” So true, yet we often forget. We get so caught up in trying to be perfect or in many cases, better than others, that we forget the real goal. {{{Hugs]}} Kozo

  2. diannegray says:

    My dear Kozo – even I yelled at my kids out of frustration at times (and I’m as calm as they come!) I don’t really feel like it’s a gender thing. I’m more leaning towards the way we are taught as children. Unless you teach boys empathy (like we do with our daughters) at a young age it’s hard to break that ‘tough’ exterior as they get older.

    I know it’s a bit off topic, but something happened to me yesterday that brought me back to earth about the roles of boys and girls. I was at the RUC and there was a ‘monetary disagreement’ between hubby and one of the builders. Needless to say this is MY house and I ALONE have paid for everything. Because this is my house I went to see what was happening when the loud voices started and one of the other builders told me not to get involved. I was a bit taken back and asked him why, he said, ‘because you’re a woman and women get too emotional – let hubby handle it.’ Um – okay (LOL). Of course I ignored him and got involved, but I found his reaction very interesting indeed. I knew he wasn’t being mean, on the contrary he is a lovely man and was trying to ‘protect’ me from any ferocious ‘men talk’ . This is obviously the way he has been brought up and I’ve found it is the same with a lot of other men who live around here. Those who have children are much tougher on their boys than they are on their girls so I can see this perpetuating into the next generation and beyond. There must be a way to change this attitude, but at the moment I have no idea what it is! 😉

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Funny how the ferocious “men talk” is not considered emotional?? Men are allowed to display anger–“God Damn it, Maverick”–but not much else. Maybe the builder was threatened by your presence because he knew you might tap into his sympathies that would weaken his argument.

      My goal is to change this attitude. I have some ideas, but they will require men to take initiative. I have to convince men that it is a win/win situation if they break down patriarchy and support equality for women in all aspects of life. I will be running some ideas by you soon, please tell me what you think.
      I feel heaps better knowing that even you yelled at your kids, Dianne.
      {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

  3. nivaladiva says:

    I agree with Julianne. I also think some men can be wonderful caregivers and very patient and gentle fathers, and some women can be just as impatient and commanding as the scene you described with your son and the scooter. I’ve actually found most of the men in my life to be much calmer and more reasonable than the women (including myself). You sound like a great father!

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Thanks, nivaladiva. I agree that men can be wonderful caregivers. I also agree that many men are calmer and more reasonable, but are these men empathic and compassionate. Sometimes being reasonable means being rational which is often used in opposition to compassion. I’m not sure I’m expressing this clearly. The best example I can give you is the rational scientist who created the atomic bomb. They were calm and reasonable, but completely lacked empathy until they saw the devastation they caused. Let me know what you think. Also, thank you for commenting on the third year anniversary of Kaz’s passing. {{{Tender Hugs}}} to you. Kozo

  4. lauriesnotes says:

    I write blogs about going within and finding peace…My daughter and I have moments too 🙂
    I catch myself pretty qickly and we say that was just a bad moment..That came from my daughter saying this is a bad day during those moments. They can be learning moments for all involved. We’ve come up with some pretty creative stuff after a bad moment.
    Be gentle with yourself.
    Much love and peace-

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Thank you, Laurie. I often get down on myself pretty quickly. I have high expectations and have made huge mistakes in the past. It is almost as if I feel that I have no more room for error, which obviously isn’t true. Yes, bad moments are incredible teaching moments and can bring creativity. Thanks you for your care and concern. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

  5. BroadBlogs says:

    Little boys and girls around the age of three are equally interested in nurturing babies. And little girls continue to learn about nurturing and relationships by playing with baby dolls, having tea parties, and playing with Barbie and her friends. But little boys are discouraged from playing with dolls or nurturing anything but a cat or, prefreably, a (more masculine) dog. Their games are more about competition: race cars an ball games, for example.


    • Kozo Hattori says:

      I hear you loud and clear, Georgia. I actually got mad at my wife one Christmas when she bought my sons dolls and strollers. I’ve struggled with empathy and compassion my whole life, yet I was passing the disease on to my sons. Luckily, my wife balances the scales a bit. Thank you for your insights and guidance. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

  6. I think it is something that is conditioned and taught. More often than not the men who have been in my life were way more compassionate and caring than I even am. Of course that being said I believe that people pay way too much attention and put too much emphasis on gender roles. What gender we are should not matter… We should just be good people, and put ourselves out there as best we can, treating others as we would want to be treated.
    Personally, I do not look at gender… I don’t pick my relationships based on gender, I am as gender neutral as I can be… Gender doesn’t matter, only who the person is! How they act towards others, who they are as individuals.

  7. Melanie says:

    You’ve done the best you could with what you know, and now that you know better, you will do better.
    The next time your son cries, you’ll know it is from the burning muscles and not a lack of desire to put forth the effort. Also, your son now knows that when dad says take your bike and not your scooter that he’s not squashing desires, but speaking with experience.

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Haha, Melanie. You are so wise. Love your first line: “You’ve done the best you could with what you know, and now that you know better, you will do better.” Lot of self-compassion and hope in that statement. I hope you tell that to yourself everyday when you think about your kids with Donkey. I can’t wait for our kids to play together at our B4Peace Conference in the future. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

      • Melanie says:

        That’s a derivative of a Maya Angelou quote. It’s my staple for self-forgiveness.
        I would be willing to bet our kids would have a blast playing together. They can teach each new scooter tricks. {hugs} to you too.

  8. I think it depends on the man, but I think most men are compassionate. Sometimes they just show it in different ways than women. I think it’s just hard sometimes to be the parent you want to be. But I think you must be a very good parent because this bothered you so much.

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Thanks for your compassion, Michelle. I think most men are loving deep inside, but have been equipped with a thick shell of armor that is often impenetrable. For example, If I look at the commenters on this post, they are all women except for one. Surely, that isn’t a coincidence. But you may be right about men showing it in different ways. I will try to learn the different ways that men show compassion. Any tips would be appreciated. Thanks for reading and commenting. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

  9. theINFP says:

    I think it depends on the individual. You have learned from your experience with your son. When he next wants to go to school by scooter you can remind him of the day his legs were too sore to make the journey. Is it possible to get up earlier so that you can take the journey a little slower? I believe you are being too hard on yourself my friend 🙂

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Thanks, Robert. I had a whole 25 minutes during the walk home to beat myself up, but when I picked my son up in the afternoon he gave me a big hug and kiss. I told him that my legs got tired riding the scooter home and I was sorry that I didn’t listen to him. Yes, getting up earlier would solve many problems, but I don’t want to give up my early morning blog time. haha. {{{hugs]}} Kozo

  10. I think your unknowingly teaching your sons how to be a good man, if you think about it he actually ended up getting to school on that contraption even tho the difficulty and he is so young to have done that too! And compassion is oozing naturally from both you and your kids, because I read your blogs and this I know SO carry on Family Kozo!!!”

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Haha, Family Kozo. I love it. Yes, there is compassion in this family. I just want to make sure that it gets transferred down many generations. Thanks you for your kind perspective, !G4AW. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

  11. Dieu says:

    This makes me think of the false saying “nice guys finish last”. We live in a culture where men who are kind, gentle, caring, sensitive and in touch with their feelings are viewed as effeminate or weak, because we are taught to see anything associated with femininity as weak. Kudos to you Kozo for sharing your self-awareness with us, so that we can see how we can also change.

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      This is such an important point, Dieu. Yes, we are taught to see kind, gentle, and sensitive men as weak. To tell the truth, my older son is a very sensitive child and I often get upset with him for being so “emotional.” Luckily, my wife catches me and reminds me how we want to encourage his sensitivity. When he was 3 years old, he was watching a movie called Hula Girls with his aunts and cousins. At a sad part in the film, one of my aunts noticed that Jett was crying. None of his other cousins his age even cared what was happening in the film, but he was crying. I love that about him. I’m working to change the way society sees and treats sensitive men. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

  12. I think you are doing an awesome job as a father Kozo and the fact you reacted this way towards your son’s whining makes you human, Granted compassion and empathy genes might be a bit stronger on the feminine gender, still I believe it is as equally a question of culture or even personality traits.

    I love how you went on to explain your son how tired you got after riding his scooter and gave him a hug. He knows he can rely on you to be fair and honest and that is great parenting. Be gentle with yourself and know in your heart you are the best father they could ever have, your souls chose each other way back when…That is my profound belief

    Enjoy your week-end Kozo 🙂

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      I love that, Anyes. Our souls chose each other way back when. Yes, my sons chose to be my teachers way back when. haha. Thank you for the encouragement and guidance, my friend. {{Hugs}}} Kozo

      • I have always believed the child is often time the teacher to the parent…As parent we are ready to learn or not…it depends but the child is there to teach us a lot about ourselves 🙂

        You are the guide…no questions there Kozo

  13. Interesting, honest post. Thanks for sharing this perspective.

  14. Very clear! thanks! tomas ♥

  15. We all make mistakes, the important thing is learning from them. I do think that men are socialized to be less emotional than women, this has been going on for quite some time back when men were hunting and women foraging. Your instincts are to be tougher on your sons than if they were girls. It’s still a dog eat dog world out there….
    but times are changing, it wasn’t that long ago when 2 men hugging would be viewed by other men and women too as strange and perhaps homosexual, now men hug and it is for the most part socially acceptable.
    I think many man put up a macho front in front of other men but they are alone with a woman, the emotions come out….I think the emotions are there all the time but hidden.
    I also think it is progressive, wise and brave of you to write about all this. You are a good guy Kozo and I bet your family thinks so too. Don’t be so hard on yourself…we all do things, say things we regret. {{{hugs}}} to you my friend.

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Thanks, Nancy. Yes, things are progressing, although I still get some stiff bodies when I try to hug some of my male friends. Ooops, That sounds kind of strange and perverted. I meant that some of my male friends are still aversive to hugging other men.
      I do think that men express emotions when they are alone with women, but I want my sons to express emotions when they feel them, not just in the safety of a private bedroom. I want them to cry at movies and jump for joy when they see something inspiring. I don’t want them to have to feel the need to have any “macho front.”
      I’ve lived with a lack of empathy and compassion and witnessed the damage I’ve done to those around me. I never want my sons to feel the guilt and anguish that I have felt.
      I appreciate your insight and guidance, Nancy. It is kind souls like you that help me stay the Path. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

      • Your boys are so blessed to have you and their lives now and in the future and so enriched by your attitiude. I’m glad to know you Kozo. {[{Hugs back}}}

  16. electronicbaglady says:

    I’m pretty sure what you have described is the guilt of parenting, very familiar to anyone engaged with it more than fractionally. The fact you are feeling it means you are more engaged than many men may be.
    Frankly, kids drive you mental all the time. The only thing I found I could do was apologise later and talk abut why I lost it, even when they were still quite small. It’s also then a chance to negotiate similar situations in the future with a little more chance of success 🙂
    But what would I know? My husband was the one who stayed home!

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Haha, EBL, yes, kids drive us mental or they push us towards peace. I did apologize to my son and he gave me a big kiss. I want him to know that we all make mistakes and it is ok. And yes, I know that next time I tell him to take the bike, he will. 🙂 {{{Hugs]}}Kozo

  17. GracieUK says:

    I think you’re being a little harsh on yourself for not realising your son wasn’t just whining – I’m not sure that has anything to do with you being a man!
    Having said that, I absolutely agree that men are conditioned to be less emotional, and less emotionally involved, than women. It’s a problem that isn’t addressed often enough, when most people seem to think that ‘gender issues’ means ‘women’s issues’. As you’ve demonstrated, men are affected by the pressures of a patriarchal society too!

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Thank you for getting the patriarchal pressures on men. Your empathy is admirable. Yes, gender issues is often sidetracked as women’s issues which means that men don’t have to take responsibility. I’m here to take responsibility and make a change. I tend to be harsh on myself because I don’t want my sons to have the compassion beaten out of them like it was beaten out of me. I thank you for your insight and support. {{{hugs]}} Kozo

  18. twindaddy says:

    I don’t see that you did anything wrong, Kozo. Sure, maybe you could have empathized with his pain, but I don’t think you were wrong to make him keep riding the scooter. You guys were already late for school.

    It’s never too early to learn a lesson. Hopefully your son learned that riding a scooter to school is a bad decision. Hopefully he learned that if dad says, “You should ride you bike,” that it’s a good idea to listen.

    Sometimes tough love is necessary. I sympathize with my children (most of the time) when they are crying about something not being fair, but I also need them to understand that life is rarely fair. The sooner they learn that the better off they’ll be.

    There’s a time for compassion and a time for tough love and it’s a tight rope walk balancing the two. Sometimes I’ve been tough when I should have been compassionate and vice versa. It doesn’t mean that you’re a bad father or caregiver. And trust me, being a good caregiver has nothing to do with gender. You don’t hear about it in the news, but there are just as many bad mothers out there as there are bad fathers.

    I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not perfect and that I’ve made mistake in raising my boys, but I still firmly believe that I’m a damn good father despite my flaws. I know that you are, too. Don’t be so hard in yourself.

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      “There’s a time for compassion and a time for tough love and it’s a tight rope walk balancing the two.” I couldn’t agree with you more, Twindaddy. I’m working towards shifting the scales. I hate to say it, but i was raised on tough love that came at the end of a leather strap, so my tendency is to lack compassion. This lack of compassion has made me hurt others around me my whole life. I don’t want my sons to experience the things I have had to go through.
      I obviously don’t beat my sons, but I am also realizing that we wring compassion out of our sons in many different ways from not letting them cry to telling them not to play with dolls.
      i know we are both good fathers, TD. But sometimes good is not good enough. I NEVER want my sons to be involved with what happened in Steubenville or Saratoga, and I’m not just talking about the perpetrators, I’m talking about the witnesses, the boys who got the facebook pictures and said nothing, the boys at the party who did nothing, etc. I know many of the parents in Saratoga. They are good parents. Many people don’t know that Saratoga High School is one of the top academic high schools in America. We are talking about Silicon Valley multimillion dollar houses neighborhood. This cancer is spreading everywhere. I was once a huge part of the problem, but now I am trying to be part of the solution. If I am hard on myself it is out of guilt.
      I thank you for your compassion and understanding, TD. I hope our sons grow up in a world full of joy and compassion. I’m doing everything I can to make sure it is possible. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

      • twindaddy says:

        I hope so, too. My sons are quite compassionate and I would like to think they wouldn’t stand for what happened in either of those horrible incidents.

  19. 1EarthUnited says:

    Aww, u’r such a good dad. Well there’s a fine line between discipline and spoiling the kid. Your son had to learn the consequence for the choices he made in life. You did warn him about lateness and suggested the bike. What’s awesome is that you both learned a lesson from this experience. It’s about respect and understanding the other’s point of view. You taught him to own up to his responsibilities and yet at the end of the day, you also showed that you cared! Love could only grow stronger from experience, as long as there’s understanding. You guys are so cute together! ♥ Much love and {{{hugs}}} Kozosan ☼

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Maddy, you always make me feel better. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to hang around you in person. You made a tough experience of mine sound like a love fest. I love that. Yes, we both learned valuable lessons. Let’s hope I don’t forget. Thank you so much for the Light you shine. {{{{Hugs}}}} Kozosan.

  20. utesmile says:

    It doesn’t matter if man or woman, it depends on the individual person if they are compassionate or not. Your walk to school taught you a lesson and thinking so long afterwards, makes you a good father. Glad you both talked about it afterwards and I am sure your son learnt to from this episode. You both learn from each other.

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      “You both learn from each other.” Thank you for that insight, Ute. Yes, we don’t just teach our children, but they teach us. I just need to get of my high horse and listen. haha. Thank you for your kindness and understanding. {{{Hugs}}} kozo

  21. grandmalin says:

    I don’t think there’s a parent anywhere, regardless of gender, who has not gone to bed at night thinking they had done some horrendous and unforgivable thing to their kids that would mess them up for life. It’s in the job description somewhere that there will be days like this. Admitting that you were wrong and vowing to try harder and do better is pretty much all you can do, and you did it. Tomorrow you get to start over. {{{hugs to a pretty normal dad}}} ♥♥♥

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Yay, I get to start over tomorrow! I’m not fired. haha. Yes, Grandmalin, I’m pretty normal, but like I was telling Twindaddy above, I don’t think the status quo is working right now. We need more than normal. I appreciate your empathy and kindness. You obviously raised amazing children who are raising wonderful compassionate children of their own. I learn so much from you. Thankful that you are my friend and guide. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

  22. KM Huber says:

    As wise grandmalin says, “tomorrow, you get to start over,” and so do the rest of us. With wonderful posts like yours, we may all be a bit more compassionate toward all life, everywhere. Thanks for the reminder, Kozo.


    • Kozo Hattori says:

      YEEESSS, Karen. May we all be more compassionate towards all life, everywhere. This is what the world needs now. This is my mission. This is my Path. And I know it is yours as well. Thank you AGAIN for walking with me. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

  23. Karen said it beautifully just above this and she’s repeating grandmalin and others…

    We’re all learning constantly – I don’t believe either gender is more compassionate or more anything, it’s all personal and constantly changing.

    Your son is still tiny, this one scooter ride will not be embedded on his brain I think 🙂

    I’m sure I’ve behaved similarly when my children were young – from my much older perspective now I’d say ‘Kozo, if he’s 2, 5, 10 minutes late for school but arrives relaxed no big deal..’ 🙂 x

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      So wise, Annie. Who gives a sh#t about being a little late for school, right? Why did I feel the need to have to be exactly on time? It reminds me of an experiment they did where they put people under a time constraint and had them rush by a person who fell down and was hurt. The people under the time constraint ran right past the person, while those who were not under the time constraint tended to help the person. Why are we in such a rush? And does this suppress our compassion? These are the questions we need to be asking. Thank you for pointing that out, Bodhisattvainprogress. haha. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

      • I think it’s drummed into us to conform and worry about what others think. I’m not saying we should have no regard for school rules ha ha ha but in the long run caring for each other as humans is the most important outcome of those trips to school with your boys.

        They have an amazing example in you Kozo 🙂

  24. Rohan 7 Things says:

    Great post Kozo. I think the very male centric society forces even the women to become more “male” to succeed, and I’ve seen plenty of women yelling at their children and being psychically rough with them in public. God knows what goes on behind closed doors. Western society is so geared toward high pressure success and survival that the release for all that pent up tension is so often the children simply because they are such easy targets.

    We’ve all definitely been dealt a bad hand in terms of what we are exposed to and how we were brought up. We essentially begin life at a disadvantage with all the media and education systems so filled with the “boys don’t cry” type mentality. Compassion and empathy are pretty low on society’s priorities list.

    Still, some of us can at least see that it’s wrong (I really worry for the one’s who think it’s normal, or right). We’ll never get it perfect but awareness is where we have to start from.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂 Hugs!


    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Yes, Rohan. Awareness is key. I am so grateful for men like you who see the problem and work towards fixing it. I remember you posting/commenting about some phenomena where there were never women talking to each other unless they were talking about men. Subtle institutionalized bugs in our system like this affect each and every one of us without our knowledge. We need to shine the light and de-bug. Thank you for all the debugging you do. Kind of ironic that your computer broke down. 🙂
      {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

  25. Geo Sans says:

    all people

    can be conditioned

    to be good care givers


    as a man

    I consider myself

    very luck


    my mom

    was a grade 1 teacher

    supportive, understanding

    and strong


    my education

    as an elementary school teacher

    has helped understand

    children too


    a staring point

    for me

    is being clear on expectations

    for myself

    and others


    after that


    firm, fair, and consistent

    helps a child

    know their boundaries


    and of course

    kneeling down to their level

    taking time to listen

    talk one-on-one

    helps them know

    you always care

    and you’re there

    for them


    being late

    is never the end of the world


    when a child is in kindergarten

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      So true, Geo Sans. Get down to their level, let them know you care, and don’t worry about being late. Trying to be firm, fair, and consistent. Thanks so much for the insight. {{{hugs]}} Kozo

      • Geo Sans says:

        you’ll still



        the tears


        saw plenty




        this never makes

        one a bad parent

        just helps everyone

        this awareness

        helps everyone

        along the learning


  26. wow, that is a lot to take in. first i think in general the question is anthropoligical and cultural. men historically have had to do things that require them to compartmentalize and yes to not get emotionally over-wrought. many men are great care-takers and many women are not. in general adults do not stop and ask the one question that would save everyone involved time, frustration and face.

    you did what many would do, including women, your priority was on being on time, your frustration was with yourself as well as your son. if you say no it really needs to be no. intermittant reinforcement is the strongest kind of training and we do it all the time with our children.

    keep up the good work, you are learning and that is the most important part of this. you are open to looking at what many of us do not dare, our own behavior.

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Thanks, S Blake. Yes, I am learning. My younger son gets to enjoy all the lessons I learn from my older son. I just hope I can continue to cultivate compassion in my older son.
      I have to stay open to asking the question that will save time, frustration, and face. I also need to stay open to asking questions rather than barking out orders.
      Thank you for your insight and guidance. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

  27. […] were very few men involved in our children’s world. Reading Kozo’s post the other day also reminded me that my aunties were wonderful, for the most part, but that I missed out on uncles […]

  28. Sunshine says:

    if parenting was easy we would see a whole lot of perfect people running around. ☺ i have to agree with Maddy in that you wanted your son to take his bike but he overrode your authority. with everything we do as adults come consequences. i think i would have done the same had i been in your shoes except not show any outward or inward anger, (hard thing to do but i would remember my meditation practice) just keep going at a comfortable pace, ignoring the tantrums etc. i would have not said a word, calmly lead him to his classroom and calmly leave. oh, maybe pull the teacher aside and explain to her the reason for the behavior. by not getting angry, i think a child can learn for him/herself the reason they need to respect a parent’s decision on certain things. and by not getting angry, the parent is not left in a position to have to apologize. i had a cousin who threw tantrums in stores. my mom would tell us, just ignore her. we did. eventually my cousin figured she was getting nothing out of her horrid behavior & it went away…thankfully.

    as far as your question…i think by nature women are created to be more compassionate since they are designed for birthing children, but our upbringing can make a big difference in both sexes. ☼sunHUGS!!

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Yeah, Sunshine. That is what I was trying to get at. As a man, I had been brought up to see crying or whining as a weakness that should be treated with anger. I want to bring my sons up differently. I also want to stay more peaceful in the middle of my son’s tantrums. It’s amazing that I can breathe through itches and leg cramps while I meditate, but the sound of that whine just gets under my skin. Guess I should be thankful for the opportunity to become more peaceful.
      Thanks for your insight and Light. {{{hugs]}} Kozo

      • Sunshine says:

        oh, my gosh…those leg/back cramps and itches always get me!! they win all the time but one day…they are going down! ha ahaha
        you are an attentive parent and as i see it, those are the ones who constantly seek the best way to handle things. just think, in no time your sons will be all grown up…just a blink of an eye. ☺

  29. […] Are Men Naturally Bad Caregivers ( […]

  30. Jas Baku says:

    Gotta say that even as a kid I thought “Shut-up or I’ll give you something to cry about” was one of the most stupid things I’d ever heard. But IDK about the gender divide. In my experience women can be just as cruel as men, (abuse and standing by, both being equally cruel). But both women and men can be strong and beautiful care-givers.
    Guess both sexes benefit from training in empathy and compassion.
    (Ace article, BTW :~)

  31. Athena Brady says:

    Hi Kozo, sorry for my late reply but I have been catching up on all my posts while I was away, exhausting lol. We don’t really have any control over the way we are brought up or the norms in society. It is not till we are older we start to questions these things. We do the best we can do with the knowledge we have until we learn a better way through questioning and being in the same situation ourselves. Only a very caring and compassionate man would question his own motives as you have. I know men who are much more caring than some women and you are among them. I think sometimes you are much too hard on yourself we all make mistakes. That’s just being human but to question and change our behavior as a result makes us wise. You are doing just fine.
    I remember to my shame my youngest son falling in the shower and me telling him “don’t be such a baby” because he persisted saying he was in pain I reluctantly (as I had much more important tasks to do) *she hangs head in shame* took him to the local hospital. I felt so guilty when I found he had broken his wrist. He still reminds me of it today when I joking say “Oh have you got man flu” or something similar as a joke.

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Thanks for the kind words, Athena. Yes, to “question and change our behavior as a result makes us wise.” Working hard everyday to question and change.
      I love the story about your son in the shower. I love that your son reminds you of this when he feels his manhood threatened. Thank you for your honesty and support. I will become a great father with help and advice from friends like you. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

  32. This was so, incredibly interesting to read. I think it’s important that you realize that you are a good father, but that that doesn’t mean that there won’t be days when your kids get on your nerves and you react hastily. Your son still loves you, and will not hate you for making him ride his scooter (natural consequence of choosing it over the bike).

    As far as patriarchal institutions go, I would definitely agree that men are socialized to be emotionally detached. Boys and men are discouraged from crying/whining from very young ages – most parents (especially fathers) will admit that they will accept larger amounts of whining from their daughters than from their sons before snapping. As adults, we tend to use phrases that reinforce this idea of emotion as the enemy (“Be a Man” being the biggest and most common). Even those who have the best, gender neutral parents will be exposed to these ideals through other aspects of life (a coach/teacher, peers, media etc…) so there will always be a part of them that is afraid to be emotionally connected for fear of the social consequences. Boys/men who are emotional or sensitive are labelled as “feminine” and therefore less worthy (which is a whole other feminist issue in itself).

    All of this aside, I do believe that there comes a point in every man’s (and occasionally woman’s) life where he is given the choice to connect or reject. Just because he has been told to act a certain way by everyone he meets, does not mean that he must do so. In deciding to make/retain an emotional connection, he defies the social expectations, which helps to refine society’s overall view of the traditional “Male Role”. This act in itself can help to shape future generations that have more loving and caring people.

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