With each passing decade the profile of the American family changes, and within that profile, the role of fatherhood is changing in new and different ways. As we approach 2017, more and more fathers who reside in the same home as their children are taking an active role in caring for them and other household responsibilities. In addition, the number of stay-at-home dads and single fathers has also increased significantly.
According to a recent Pew Research Center report, the changing role of fathers has brought about new challenges as more fathers find themselves trying to juggle the demands of both family and work. Here are some of their key findings:
More families are dual-earners now
Fewer fathers are their family’s primary breadwinner. In fact, only a fourth of families with children under 18 are classified as such. The majority of families are now considered dual-earners. To compare, in 1970, almost half of all families were classified as having the father as the primary financial provider.
Parental and gender roles are overlapping
Because the number of dual-income households has increased, the parental roles historically assigned to mothers and fathers have begun to overlap and change. Since the late 1960’s, more women have entered the paid workforce and in some cases earning the same or more than their spouse. In contrast, men have taken more of an active role in child care, housework and family responsibilities beyond earning money.
Being a parent is important
Based on the Pew Research Center report, 57% of fathers and 58% of mothers say that being a parent is central or extremely important to their identity. The strength of the bond between a parent and their children is key in determining the role parenthood plays in a father’s or mother’s identity.
It’s a balancing act for dads, too
Balancing work and family is a challenge for many working fathers. Pew Research Center surveys indicate that 52% of today’s working dads find it challenging to balance their job with family life. This number is slightly lower than the 60% of working mothers who say the same but has been rising steadily as the father’s role has changed within the family. When asked if they would prefer to stay at home raising their children instead of being in the workforce, men and women answer equally at 48% wishing they could do so if they did not need the income.
Stay-at-home-dads are on the rise
Perhaps one of the biggest changes in American families is that more fathers are now staying at home to raise their children. In 1989, only 4% of fathers were considered “stay-at-home-dads” but based on research data from 2012, that number has risen to 7% – that’s approximately 2 million dads who are opting not to work outside the home.
Just as women often feels the pressures of trying to uphold commitments to both work and home life, men can also fall into the trap of thinking they must be able to “do it all”. However, that mentality always leads to increased stress. Whether you’re a stay-at-home-mom, a stay-at-home-dad, or a dual-income family, it’s important to remember that no one person can handle all aspects of career and family life. When you and your spouse or partner communicate about your feelings (including stress) and needs, you stand a better chance of successfully navigating the new roads that modern families must travel on.
To read the full research study and article, visit:
If you are looking for resources in Northern Colorado and the Fort Collins region that support parents who may be staying at home to raise children, please review the following groups:
Fort Collins Stay At Home Dads Meetup:
Fort Collins Working Moms and Stay at Home Dads Group:
Moms Club for Part- and Full-time Stay at Home Moms:
If you and your spouse will be filing for divorce in Northern Colorado or reside in the Larimer County or Fort Collins region, and want to explore divorce options that protect your children as much as possible, do not hesitate to contact Laura Monty Law. We provide collaborative divorce representation, divorce mediation services, legal advising for uncontested divorces, and a full array of divorce and family law services to meet your family’s needs. We strongly believe in taking a compassionate approach to family law, and recognize that every situation is unique.