The economic landscape of the United States has changed dramatically since the 1960s. Especially, in the arena of fatherhood.
The roles of the father and the mother are not so clear cut as they were half a century ago. These changes have come with significant economic implications. Importantly, many of the new Dads can’t simply follow in their Dad’s footsteps. The world is different. Today, more Dads are experiencing the struggle of a work/life balance as they team up with spouses who are also working. Their Dads only changed a diaper as a schtick. Today, if these fellas don’t change diapers, it can turn into a very dangerous situation. (Amirite, Mamas?)
The rise of the dual-income household has made it much more difficult for men to leverage their “breadwinning” status as a way to create stability in their families. Now, Dads have to bring other offerings to the table. Cooperation involves more strategy, emotional intelligence, and compromise. As a result, Dads are dedicating one more hour per day toward childcare and housework compared to 1965.
Educating children has undergone some big changes. In order to flourish, the kids coming out of the newer generation—I’ve called them CreateGen—must become more creative, independent, and emotionally intelligent. As Dads become more involved with the development of the children, not only do they have to teach them the stereotypical “Dad” stuff like hand-eye coordination, fixing toilets, and fending for themselves, they must encourage ways for their children to be ingenious and inventive.
This all matters because of the mountain of literature showing the implications of fathers on children. The impacts begin as early as prenatally all the way through adulthood. The role of men as father figures influences the children’s survival, health, socioemotional outcomes, social competence, and educational attainment!
This is not a light responsibility. If it was hard before, it has certainly not become any easier for dads, despite the extra income coming from their spouses. The tension between the “traditional” role of the father and today’s changed family structures have put Dads to the test. This test is not easy as Dads are secretly feeling the depression and anxiety that plagues the nation. This has significant effects on economic productivity of not only their generation but of the following generations as well.
So, today, show your Dads (biological and those who have stepped in) some love and appreciation as they not only adapt to these changing conditions, but pave the way toward a new fatherhood frontier.
Happy Father’s Day!