While there are studies that say dads are less involved in parenting compared to moms, today's fathers have gone a long, long way from just being the person in charge of bringing home the bacon. These days, papas are getting more and more involved in child care and parenting. And a new study from Australia sheds some light on how a father's role has changed.
In the new study commissioned be Nickelodeon Australia entitled Wait Until Your Father Gets Home, researchers conducted four qualitative group discussions, fourteen face-to-face interviews, and over 900 online surveys with dads in Australia. The results of the study showed that today's dads are more hands-on, more present, and more patient and understanding.
The study also found that of the 900 fathers surveyed, only 78 percent believe they are doing a good job. Eighty percent feel lucky to be a dad, while 50 percent think being a father is harder than they initially thought. Generations ago, kids were mostly afraid of fathers. Dads now saw themselves as less feared and less strict, but they are also less distant and less work-focused than fathers before them.
We've previously reported that Filipino dads, too, don't see themselves anymore as the sole disciplinarian of the kids, but as directors of fun for the whole family.
One of the interesting outcomes of the study is researchers classified today's modern dads into three categories based on their work status, which is a huge factor in portraying their roles. Researchers, however, did not identify what kind was most popular among the dads interviewed.
Here are the three types of dads:
Provider dads, according to the study, are the more traditional type, but who interacts with his kids more. They are the breadwinners of their family but can step in when needed or when asked to help with the kids. A provider dad takes direction from the main caregiver of his children: their mother.
Super-sub fathers,on the other hand, are also the primary providers but can hold their own when the children are left in their care. They employ a tag team approach since they're more open to take on traditional female roles. This dad is more than happy to "sub" for their partners, hence the name.
Carer dads, however, are somewhat the opposite of a traditional father. They are the primary caregivers and have partners that work full-time as the breadwinner of the family. A carer father enjoys being the hands-on, proactive caregiver of his kids and doesn't care about gender bias in parenting.
"Today’s dads are increasingly more involved in the day-to-day decisions around the household," Kirsty Bloore, senior research director of Nickelodeon's parent company, Viacom International Media Network, said in a statement. "They purchase groceries, make decisions on what clothes and toys to buy and are involved in choosing day care. Most importantly, dads feel they should be portrayed as being much more involved and nurturing," she added.
The study sends out a message to the world to be more understanding and open to the changing roles of fathers (ahem, paternity leave expansion, please!) and that they're not mere babysitters but parents.
It is also a message for moms to stop underestimating your partners when it comes to caring for their kids. Take the time and patience you give your kids and give your spouse directions when he asks for them -- and refrain from using a condescending tone -- and give them a chance to succeed. Fathers want to be involved, so let them.
Studies have also shown that kids with fathers who are actively engaged in their upbringing could enjoy advantages compared to their peers with less-involved dads. Sharing parenting duties with your spouse will also allow you to spend some time to yourself, too. It's a win-win for everybody.