Today's fathers who live with their children have a more active role in caring for them and helping around the house than fathers did in years past. The number of single fathers doing it all has also grown in recent decades. However, there are also more single mothers, leaving kids to grow up without a father in the home. The Pew Research Center recently shared eight facts about today's dads in honor of Father's Day, which is coming up Sunday.
SAHDs: Stay-at-home-dad was hardly heard of even 20 years ago. In the '80s, with no frame of reference for the term stay-at-home-dad, producers called their movie, “Mr. Mom.” Dads make up 17% of all stay-at-home parents in 2016, up from 10% just 20 years earlier. Among Millennials, six percent of dads were home with the kids while Generation X dads at the same age had only three percent at home with their kids.
n 2016, 24% of stay-at-home dads reported that this was the main reason they were at home, up from just 4% in 1989. In comparison, 78% of stay-at-home moms reported this was the main reason they were home, down from 86% in 1989.
Today's dads say parenting is extremely important to their identity. Nearly 60% of fathers said this in the Pew survey, nearly tied with mothers in that respect. Over half (54%) of fathers say parenting is rewarding all of the time, compared with 52% of mothers, suggesting maybe that it's still the case that fathers do less of the heavy lifting in the parenting department. 46% of fathers and 41% of mothers said they find parenting enjoyable all of the time.
Few childless men aged 19-49 say they never want to be dads. Forty-four percent say they hope to become fathers while 35% are unsure. Among childless women in the same age group, half said they do want to become mothers while 22% are unsure.
Working fathers say work-family balance is a big challenge. Over half (52%) said it is very or somewhat difficult to strike that balance while almost three-in-ten (29%) said they always feel rushed.
What do Americans think of dads?
First and foremost, over three in four (76%) believe men face a lot of pressure to provide financially for their family. Nearly half believe men face a lot of pressure to be an involved parent.
For women, the perception is flipped as 77% say women face a lot of pressure to be an involved parent while 40% say women face a lot of pressure to support their family financially.
Only about a quarter (27%) of couples who live with minor children are in families where only the father works. Fifty years ago, this number was over half. The share of couples living in dual-earner families is now the majority of two-parent families with children.
This may be why dads are much more involved in caring for their children than they were 50 years ago. While dads spend only an average of eight hours per week on child care, it's triple the time they spent in 1965. Dads put in about 10 hours a week on household chores, compared with four hours in 1965. Mothers still put in 14 hours a week on childcare and 18 hours on housework, taking up a second shift at home after most of them have worked at a job.
Half of Americans still think mothers do a better job than fathers at caring for a new baby,even after adjusting for mom's advantage in being able to breastfeed. Those who feel mothers and fathers do equally well cleaned up at about 45% leaving just one percent who feel fathers do a better job than mothers.
Most dads (63%) feel they spend too little time with their kids, compared with 35% of mothers who said the same. Among both dads and moms who said they spend too little time with their kids, work obligations were cited most often as the main reason. Dads are also less confident in tehir parenting abilities with 39% of fathers saying they do a very good job raising their children compared with 51% of moms.
Pew researchers pointed out that despite parents' shifting responsibilities, U.S is the only one of 41 countries that lacks parental leave for new parents. And the other 40 nations mandate a minimum of eight weeks. Several nations offer over a year's worth, while dozens more offer at least six monts. As fathers and mothers both work and take care of children, we feel this may be a new frontier to take on – the value of new children and leave for parents to give them the best start.
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