Years ago, dads were viewed as the home’s breadwinner. He held the job, brought in the money, came home to a warm dinner and spent the rest of the night with a beer on the couch. (Or at least that’s the stereotype.)
Mom, meanwhile, took care of the household chores and raising the kids. Dad might provide a stern, disciplinarian’s hand when needed, but it wasn’t as socially acceptable for him to be emotionally engaged with his family.
Well, the times have changed and so has the way modern dads approach the entire idea of fatherhood.
Here are four facts about modern dads that might surprise you.
Being ‘Dad’ is their No. 1 job
According to a TODAY survey of 2,000 moms and dads, 75% of dads call fatherhood their “most important job.”
“Dads are more engaged with their kids than ever before,” said Dana Glazer, a father of three and filmmaker who created “The Evolution of Dad.”
The survey also found 54% of dads say they change their kids’ diapers while just 37% say their own fathers did.
Furthermore, a Pew Research survey found that 57% say being a parent is extremely important to their overall identity, which is almost equal to the percentage of moms who say the same (58%).
More and more dads, especially younger ones, are embracing what it means to be a father and that is emerging as the core of their identity.
Dads are doing more housework and child care
Just as the TODAY survey showed, Pew Research found that the roles moms and dads play in the household are beginning to converge.
Fathers are spending more time engaged in housework and child care than they did 50 years ago. Although mothers still spend more time caring for children and doing chores, the gap is rapidly closing. That is a healthy development. According to WebMD, fathers who do their share of domestic chores are more likely to raise daughters who dream of careers not limited by gender stereotypes.
They’re not cool with being excluded
Marketers have long targeted moms as the parent who makes most purchasing decisions for the household, but ignoring fathers could be costing brands big money.
In the last couple years, dads have rallied to mount campaigns against Amazon’s parent-focused program Amazon Mom and Old Navy’s misguided Father’s Day T-shirt that many thought was degrading to dads.
The message fathers are sending is clear. They’re part of the family and all that comes with it. That means doing chores, taking care of the kids, providing for the family, and even buying groceries and other household items.
Brands that solely target dads run the risk of alienating fathers and missing out on an opportunity to tap into a powerful demographic. (Brands that recognize these trends, however, are cashing in).
They’re more emotionally engaged
A recent study in the United Kingdom found that modern fathers believe they enjoy a more supportive and hands-on relationship with their children than they experienced. They also make more of an effort to spend time and develop common interests with their kids.
By and large, modern fathers are embracing a broader, more engaged style of fathering.
This bodes well for the future of our children. Research shows emotionally-involved dads tend to have happier kids.