In an article posted earlier this week by Pew Research Center, Dads are 3x more involved with the care of their children than they were 50 years ago. Does that statistic surprise you? I’m not surprised, many of the dads I know, my husband included, spend a lot of time with their kids. Many dads help coach their teams or are involved in extra curricular activities. Not only that but dads are sharing the responsibilities in taking the kids to school, picking them up, making dinner, helping with homework, reading to them or just playing with them having fun.
There are two things that are surprising to me about that statistic. The first is that this change has happened in a relatively short period of time. Fifty years is sounds like a long time, but it’s only the difference of one generation, maybe two. The cultural tide has been shifting over those years, making it more acceptable for men to be more involved with the children. However, the tide may have been shifting, this is still a pretty big cultural change that openly conflicts with the way things were for a very long time.
The second thing that surprises me about this statistic is that if you ask a dad (or any parent for that matter) if they think they spend enough time with their kids, they would probably say no. In fact, in the same study, 63% of the dads felt like they were not spending enough time with their kids. So just to recap, dads are doing more than they were doing fifty years ago, but over half of them still don’t feel like they are doing enough.
Where did dads get this perception they should be doing more? Even when faced with the data that we spend more time with our kids, we still think it’s not enough. I wonder why that is? Is it because our days are so scheduled that it’s easy to see what we are doing that takes us away from our kids? When you look at your jam packed daily schedule, it’s easy to critique ourselves on whether we should really spend an hour at the gym, or go to a work dinner, when we “should” be home with our kids. Our parents never felt the responsibility to entertain us, yet somehow, we have taken on this responsibility for our kids. This study serves as proof that dads can let themselves off the hook and believe they are doing enough.
Don’t miss a post – sign up to receive the blog in your inbox every week. Scroll to the top of the page and you’ll see a box to enter your email in the upper right side of the page.
I started writing this blog because I wanted to have deeper conversations beyond "How are you?", "Busy", with other parents. Over the years I've shared personal stories, articles, authors and topics to facilitate conversations with parents about the joys and the challenges of parenting.