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Arguments when you become a parent

Research shows that conflict increases and relationship satisfaction decreases in a large proportion of couples during the first year of a child's life. Read on and download the LEIA Health app to receive customized information and support before and after your childbirth.

Not all parents have a heterosexual relationship, but the majority of parenting couples consist of a mother and father. Lots of couples and professionals believe that relationship problems arise because of biological differences in the way men and women function.

Many also think that differences between the sexes automatically mean that there’s a natural division of domestic work and emotional responsibilities.

Of course, there are biological differences. Only one of you has carried your baby and given birth, can breastfeed, or has contributed sperm. It’s also scientifically proven that there are differences between the sexes in terms of hormones and the way the brain works.

However, gender isn’t a category that all people fit into. Not everyone who identifies as a particular gender will have the same characteristics. Some women will love breastfeeding while others will hate it. Some men who stay at home will find it super fun while others will find it boring. And it’s not encoded in our DNA that just one gender is capable of doing the laundry or calling the pediatrician.

Moreover, biological differences that exist at the group level can’t be directly translated into how we behave as individuals. Our hormones and biology influence our behavior, but research shows that our actions also impact our hormones. So our bodies adapt and we get better at the things we do a lot.

Because we are raised from birth to fit into narrow gender roles, we often act in a way that fits that role and our bodies adapt accordingly. Of course it’s good to do what you’re skilled at. However, many relationships fail because they get stuck in these very unequal gender roles where one partner has to take much on greater responsibility for the home and children.

But it’s not just the biological differences between the sexes that cause communication problems and fights. If that were true, then same-sex couples should be relatively trouble-free, right? In fact, regardless of the gender constellation, couples fight about exactly the same things:

  • Housework

  • Sex

  • Finances

Tip: Want to do your relationship a favor, avoid unnecessary fights, and invest in your future? Divide your housework equally!

- Veronika Palm, Lic. Psychologist

This article was written by Veronika Palm, a licensed psychologist and writer who is passionate about gender equality and women's issues. She is the author of the Swedish book Relationsbibeln (The Relationship Bible), which is a complete handbook for couples who want to create and maintain a healthy relationship.


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