Now Trending: Fatherhood
Fatherhood has undergone a significant change in recent decades. I recently came across a study that was done by the Pew Research Center that shows fathers today are spending more time with their children than ever before! It peaked my interest, so here are the highlights I took away from it, along with my thoughts.
Fatherhood on the Rise
There are multiple factors that have led to the changing of fatherhood/parental roles with the main one being our shifting gender roles in society. With more women working than ever before, fathers are stepping up and taking on a more active role in their children’s lives. The study shows a jump of dual income homes from 49% in 1970 to 66% in 2016.
In conjunction with this, another study (from 1965 – 2016) showed dads went from spending 2.5 hours a week on "childcare" to 8 hours. At the same time, somehow, moms also increased their childcare hours from 10 to 14...I don't know how you do it ladies! Either way you look at it, those statistics seem to be a win-win to me.
Another reason for the increase of father involvement in their kid's lives is that they have an increased feeling that fatherhood is central to their identity. 57% of fathers said fatherhood was "Extremely Important" to their overall identity, while another 37% said it was "Very Important". These numbers almost exact match mothers at 58% and 35% respectively.
As a father, I agree with the majority here and feel being a parent is Extremely Important to my identity. As Founder of The Intentional Father, I am encouraged by these numbers and can only hope the trend continues.
Overall, these surveys are important because there are several benefits to fathers spending more time with their children. Studies have shown that children who have a strong relationship with their fathers are more likely to do better in school and are less likely to get into trouble. This is just the tip of the iceberg. For more statistics see our Fatherhood Statistics page or read our post "Why A Father Matters".
However you look at it, the trends are favorable. Good job dads! Give yourself some Rightful Self-Praise! In the words of Jerry Miculek, "Get Some!"
Continue the Push
So what now?
How do we continue to move the needle?
One aspect is the push to continually shift societal views of fatherhood. In a similar 2017 study, people were asked the pressure men and women face in different aspects of life.
Results: - Supporting their family: 76% said men face a lot of pressure while only 40% said women did. - To be successful in their job or career: 68% said men face that pressure while 44% said women did. - Pressure of being an involved parent: only 49% said men face a lot of pressure while 77% said women do.
Even though we are trending in the right direction, it is evident that how society views parental roles is not yet where it needs to be.
Dads can no longer be seen as just workers and providers, but as caregivers as well. This doesn't diminish the role of provider, we are simply called to be more. Continuing this shift in perception will help to encourage more fathers to be present and intentional in their children’s lives.
Primarily, we move the needle and shift societal views one father at a time. We continually step up and perform ALL parenting duties. Don't just take the kids to get ice cream every now and then and act like you are doing their mom a huge favor. Be there day in and day out, through the not fun parts. Change the diapers. Make the lunches. Plan dinner throughout the week. It's continuous. As author Reed Markham said, "Being a great father is like shaving. No matter how good you shaved today, you have to do it again tomorrow." (read more on this topic in our post: Normalize Fatherhood). Be present and intentional each day. Do not allow yourself to get complacent. Then, go encourage and challenge your friend and neighbor to do the same!
In all, fathers, you're doing a great job, keep at it! Your children thank you, your wife/child's mom thanks you, and future society thanks you. Your child's world is better today because of you.
Be Present. Be Intentional.