The Changing Role of the Father
“You’ve come a long way Dad, and for the better”

A few centuries ago, father’s roles were primarily to serve as the breadwinners, and the instructor of moral values. However, in the everchanging world due to economics, and there was a rise of industrialization and urbanization and factories emerged as major sources of employment, and fathers became distanced from the family. In more recent decades the changing economic role of women has played a major part in the role of the father. Between 1948 and
2001, the percentage of working age women employed or looking for work nearly doubled–from less than 33 percent to more than 60 percent. The increase of financial power of women today has greatly changed the family dynamic of stay at home moms, and Dads going off to work. Today’s fathers have started to take on roles vastly different from fathers of previous generations.

New reviews of about 100 published studies between 1940 and 2001 suggest the fathers’ love is
just as important to a child’s development as the mothers and sometimes even more. Researchers
have found that the overall love or rejections of mothers and fathers equally affects their child’s,
behavior, self-esteem, emotional stability and their mental health. In some cases the withdrawal
of the father’s love seems to play a larger role in the child’s problems with personality and
psychological adjustment, delinquency, and substance abuse, Some studies suggest the presence
of a father’s love may do more to boost children’s sense of well-being and improve their
emotional and physical health, says co-author Ronald P. Rohmer, Ph.D., director of the Center
for the Study of Parental Acceptance and Rejection at the University of Connecticut in Storrs.
Out of our nation’s 64 million dads, an estimated 159,000 of them are stay-at-home dads.
However, this number is growing at a rapid pace. For many fathers the decision to be a stay at
home dad stems from their spouses earning potential being greater than theirs, and they and their
spouse are reluctant to allow someone else to raise their children. Many stay- at -home dads are
confronted with social stigma to them going against the social norms surrounding masculine
behavior. Most of these fathers do not feel bound to these norms and are comfortable being
affectionate and nurturing with their children, characteristics which once was traditionally
thought of as feminine.

Pew Research reports today, the role of fathers have changed considerably from the fathers 40
and 50 years ago. No longer are fathers just the primary bread winner and disciplinarian to his
children. Many fathers today share the daily care of their children with their child(s) mother.
They help bath, feed, and change diapers and are much more involved in their child’s daily
activities such as playing with the child and helping them with their homework.
Dad’s roles they play in the lives of their children has lasting results that can affect their child’s
entire life. Below are a just few of the positive outcomes a father’s involvement can have.
Fathers can help provide more positive social and emotional involvement with others when they
have their own playful and affectionate interaction with their children. The father’s involvement before, during and after the birth of a child has been shown to have positive benefits on the mothers and newborn health, from increased prenatal and postnatal health care visits to more successful breastfeeding.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, involved fathers help their
children become more prepared when the child begins school with higher levels of academic
readiness. Children not only do better at school, they are much more likely to graduate and have
higher levels of career and economic success with involved Dad’s. Father’s interactions with
their children at an early age provides better development in their child’s language skills.
Children with involved fathers have lower rates of depression and less battles with fear and self-
doubt well into their adult years. Boys have lower rates of delinquency in school when their
fathers actively participate in their care. Daughters with involved dads in their life have higher
academic and professional ambitions and higher levels of self –esteem.

Fathers play an important and often overlooked role in the development of their children. From
their role Dads play in prenatal care, to how they play, communicate and act as role-models for
their kids, loving, engaged dads have been shown to have a tremendous impact on how a child
grows up. Father’s involvement in their children’s lives improve their children’s life in every
area of growing and developing.

Being a hand’s- on dad has also been good for the father’s emotional and mental health. Many
fathers believe that being involved and having a say about their children’s lives has given them a
greater sense of purpose and has boosted their own self- esteem. Dads see parenting as central to
their identity. They are just as likely as moms to say that parenting is extremely important to
their identity. Some 57% of fathers say as much, compared with 58% of mothers. Most dads
seem to appreciate the benefits of parenthood – 54% report that parenting is rewarding all the
time, as do 52% of moms. Some 46% of fathers and 41% of mothers say they find parenting
enjoyable all the time.

It was 46 years ago when Harry Chapin first sang the haunting song that put more fathers ill at
ease than any other song in history. “Cat’s in the Cradle” reached the top of the Billboard music
charts in December of 1974. It sold millions of copies and earned Chapin a Grammy nomination
for Best Song. Children bought the record for their parents, and wives played it for their
husbands. Ministers used the story in their sermons; and business leaders, teachers and
newspaper columnists cited the song’s lyrics on Father’s Day.

Today Dads have come a long way. The heartbreaking song “Cats in the Cradle” no longer truly
represents many dads of today. It warms the heart to see a father today nurture their children,
spending time and helping them through the daily task of life. Preparing their children for life.
Putting the Fathers love in their child’s heart. Bravo Dads you have come a long way for the
better. But do not stop, keep that fighting spirit up for your children’s wellbeing and for yours
and theirs future.

Jim Katsoudas