The Changing Role of Fathers
The role of fathers is changing in America—mostly for good. According to research conducted by the Pew Research Center, fathers are taking a more active parenting role and they are spending more time with their children.
In a 2012 study, 46 percent of fathers said they spent more time with their children than their own fathers did with them.
Additionally, fathers in 2011 took more active roles in doing housework and taking care of their children than they did in 1965.
The role of fathers cannot be overstated. As I have written in the past, children that are raised in fatherless homes are much more at risk to drop out of school, be incarcerated, become pregnant, as well as a slew of other behaviors.
Unfortunately, fatherless homes are also on the rise. In 2010, the Pew Research Center revealed that 27 percent of all children live in a fatherless home. That is up from 11 percent in 1960.
We instinctively know the positive influence of fathers on children, yet fathers are increasingly absent from homes. Why is this?
1. Fear of Failure. Some fathers give up and leave the home because their standards are too high. Often, when men lose their jobs or make a fathering mistake (as even the best fathers do), they lose confidence in their ability to be a good dad, and they would rather leave than have their children or wives think less of them. These men need to “suck it up” and keep trying. There is no such thing as a perfect dad!
2. Lack of Encouragement. Sadly, the role of men is often cast in a negative light. The media frequently portrays fathers and husbands as bumbling, dumb or childish (eg: Home Improvement, Married With Children, The Simpson’s). This can increase feelings of inadequacy in men. At the very least, it is difficult to find positive role models in the media to emulate. Men cannot let outside pressures minimize their value. They need to meet with other men that care about their families for mutual encouragement and inspiration. And they need to be willing to take their roles more seriously.
3. Lack of Marriage Training. Through my involvement with the Northwest Marriage Institute, I have come to realize that most fathers desire to be better husbands and fathers. The problem is that many men lack the skills and experience to be an effective father or husband. The Northwest Marriage Institute provides men with tangible training and tools to better enable them to be an effective dad and husband. I am proud to be part of this team. And our services are free! I would encourage all men to look for seminars or workshops that teach marriage and parenting skills. Anyone can become a better husband or father!