What does Fatherhood really mean these days? How has it changed and what really makes a 'Dad'?
Updated: Feb 17
It goes without saying that the Fatherhood role has changed vastly over the last 70 years, and more recently we are seeing more Dads embracing the ‘home carer’ role, with the other parent going out as the main worker or breadwinner, but either way, parents are generally sharing more responsibilities, which can only be a good thing for all!
‘Dads’ come in various different capacities too; genetic fathers, surrogate or adoptive fathers, sole parents, stepfathers and long term partners all play important roles as Dads, co-parents and role models. It is also important to take into account that not all ‘father figures’ are male. There are many families with non binary, queer and trans parents who may or may not wish to identify as a 'father' as such, but as an equal parent in their own way.
Naturally, they will still, take their experience with their own Dad forward into their own journey, however this may look for them as a parent. I love this blog, which is a great read if you would like to learn more about how you can support LGBTQIA+ families, especially around specific days such as Fathers Day (and Mothers Day too!).
Parenting can, of course, be exhausting at times, and with all the additional pressures placed upon us to ‘have it all’, we have had to evolve as parents and partners (whether together or parenting separately), especially considering the curve balls we have all had to endure recently, including parenting through a pandemic, so it's no surprise that things have had to change!
These insightful statistics that follow are gathered from research completed especially for Fathers Day 2022 by the fantastic Australian children's TV show Bluey, with input from 2000 parents in the UK, to gain an updated view on parenting in more recent times:
● 93% of parents believe that the role of ‘Dad’ has changed beyond all recognition, with Dads themselves saying they ‘muck in’ more than their own Dads did. ● Traditional gender stereotypes appear to be breaking down, with both partners agreeing that the phrase ‘man of the house’ is outdated, old fashioned and sexist. This is also backed up by the amount of Dads more commonly taking on domestic chores within the home. ● Data reveals that 80% of parents recognise Dads now do domestic chores that only a quarter of their own fathers performed ● The research also shows that 80% of Dads asked, say they are now more involved in childcare. Where only three in ten of those say they themselves experienced that from their Dads growing up. ● When asked, almost half recognised that their own Dads main role, when they were young, was to be the sole family breadwinner. ● 29% of parents said their own father was so busy earning a living that he only spent time with them at weekends.
It’s incredibly refreshing to see more equality and choice among the roles we can embrace without feeling we need to fit into a specific role based on gender, label, or genetics. There’s a clear shift in generations meaning Dads roles have become even more important in the home environment and in their children’s lives.
● Two thirds of Dads in the 21st century believe that their most important job is to be a good parent that their children will admire. Whilst a mere 7% stated being the breadwinner. ● Now, two thirds of British parents define todays ‘modern Dad’ as a provider of emotional support to his children and help with the household chores. ● Over three quarters of Dads today (78%) cook for their family; 69% and 60% now participate in bedtime and bath time routines, respectively. 60% do the school run; 54% help with homework; and 47% ferry kids to after-school and weekend clubs. ● Far fewer of their own fathers made meals for the family (28%); took part in bath time (17%) or bedtime (27%); did the school run or helped with homework (each 21%). ● It’s interesting how almost three quarters of Dads today say that becoming a parent has led them to reflect on their relationship with their own father. ● 84% admitted that their upbringing has affected their style of parenting and has led to them deciding to do many things differently to their own Dads. ● When reflecting on their childhood, 56% wish their father had spent more quality time with them. ● Almost a third of Dads (28%) wish that they had enjoyed a closer emotional bond and a quarter wish their dad had been able to show them more love. ● Major concerns for modern Dads include not being a good enough parent (44%) and missing out on their childhood because of work pressures (28%). Whilst a third worry they may not be able to support their kids emotionally (33%).
So based on these statistics, we are clearly seeing a shift from the stereotypical and sexist old fashioned ‘’Father’’ role. Some of that is likely based on todays parents realisation of the input they had from their own Dads and their own experiences as a child. This has led many parents of this generation to want to have a more involved role in all aspects of their children’s lives. It also allows for more gender equality, with either or both parents more able to pursue careers as well as balance home life.
This is great from a sleep coaching perspective as more and more, we experience both parents embracing the role of putting their child to bed at any age. As expected, this has huge benefits for parents as well as their children.
If you would like further support or guidance on how to balance sleep, family life and self care, please contact me!