Redefining Fatherhood

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Before Father's Day, the evolving role and perceptions of modern-day dads. What's changing. What's not.

What's the role of the modern-day father? (Public Domain)
What's the role of the modern-day father? (Public Domain)

Parenthood asks a lot. Of moms and dads. This weekend is Father's Day. OK, maybe it’s a greeting card company concoction. But we’ll use it, as a chance to look at what’s going on with fatherhood. Traditional roles. New roles. Who’s pulling the weight at home. Who wants to. Who’s not. New research says we’ve got dads who are traditionalists, egalitarians and “conflicteds.” Who’s happiest? This hour On Point: Fatherhood now. Whatever everybody wants from it – moms, dads, and kids. -- Tom Ashbrook


Brad Harrington, executive director of the Boston College Center for Work and Family. (@DrBradH)

Sarah Thébaud, professor of sociology at University of California Santa Barbara. Her research focuses on how gender inequalities influence modern day marriage and work life. (@sthebaud1)

Matt Prestbury, founder of Black Fathers, a closed Facebook group for actively involved fathers. Assistant pre-school teacher. (@mattprestbury)

From Tom's Reading List

USA Today: Why dads matter, according to science — "An involved father's impact is more than a few good stories, notable quips and hard-learned lessons. Science proves he's worth more. Studies show children with involved fathers, stepdads or father figures are less likely to get in trouble with the law, tend to do better in school and are more likely to hold a job."

Washington Post: Can parents share child-raising responsibilities equally? — "The Kranenburgs of Northwest Washington are a textbook example of what many of us grew up thinking would be our own parenting style. We looked back at our mother’s housework burdens and career sacrifices or our father’s disengagement with the family, and thought: not for us. We’d match with partners who would trample tired gender roles and commit to support our families 50-50 financially, physically and emotionally. Going halfsies on parenting seemed as obvious as the pants on our legs."

Boston College Center for Work & Family: The New Dad: The Career-Caregiving Conflict — "Fathers today want to be active and engaged with their families, with more than 2-out-of-3 expressing a desire to be an equal parenting partner. Unfortunately, our research shows less than one-third are able to achieve that goal, leaving many fathers feeling conflict between personal and professional life."

Profiles to describe the average dad in each of three fatherhood types. (Boston College Center for Work & Family)
Profiles to describe the average dad in each of three fatherhood types. (Boston College Center for Work & Family)

6 Facts About American Fathers

  1. Dads see parenting as central to their identity.
  2. Dads are much more involved in child care than they were 50 years ago.
  3. It’s become less common for dads to be their family’s sole breadwinner.
  4. Work-family balance is a challenge for many working fathers.
  5. Despite changing gender roles, many still perceive mothers as better equipped than fathers to care for children.
  6. Seven-in-ten adults say it’s equally important for new babies to bond with their mother and their father.

Dad facts sourced from the Pew Research Center. Read more here.

10 Dad Jokes We're Sure You've Heard Before

  1. "What time did the man go to the dentist? Tooth hurt-y."
  2. "Whenever the cashier at the grocery store asks my dad if he would like the milk in a bag he replies, 'No, just leave it in the carton!'"
  3. "Me: 'Hey, I was thinking…
' My dad: 'I thought I smelled something burning.'"
  4. "I used to have a job at a calendar factory but I got the sack because I took a couple of days off."
  5. "Two guys walk into a bar, the third one ducks."
  6. "I had a dream that I was a muffler last night. I woke up exhausted!"
  7. "5/4 of people admit that they’re bad with fractions."
  8. "What's Forrest Gump's password? 1forrest1"
  9. "I asked my dad for his best dad joke and he said, 'You.'”
  10. "We were getting fast food when the lady at the window said, 'Any condiments?' My dad responded, 'Compliments? You look very nice today!'”

Dad jokes sourced from BuzzFeed. Read more here.

This program aired on June 16, 2017.


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