Dads Now Spend 3 Times As Much Time With Their Kids Than Ever Before

girl and her dad

With Father's Day just around the corner it seems that we now have more reason than ever to be celebrating dad.

In a study performed by Sociologists at BYU and Ball State and published in the Journal of Marriage and Family it was found that modern day dads are more involved with their kids than ever before. Not only are fathers being there for their children on a personal level, but on an emotional level as well, Eureka Alert reports.

The study looked at 2,194 fathers of children between the ages of 2 and 18. The fathers were assessed by how they responded to a variety of statements.  "It is essential for the child's well being that fathers spend time interacting and playing with their children" and "It is difficult for men to express warm and tender affectionate feelings toward children," were an example of the questions asked.

Kevin Shafer, BYU sociology professor and a co-author of the study stated that modern day fathers have come a long way. "We found that today's dads spend more time, provide more care and are more loving toward their kids than ever before," he said. "Most dads see themselves as playing an equally important role in helping their children as mothers do. At the same time, however, there is a group of dads who believe they are to be breadwinners, disciplinarians and nothing more."

The study found that fathers who tended to follow the more stereotypical model of 'fatherhood' and masculine norms tended to be less involved in effective parenting and more likely to participate in harsher punishments for their children.

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While previous studies indicate that men are struggling to find the balance between the masculine norms that society imposes on them and being more engaged and open with their children, this study suggests that men are realizing the importance and benefits of being an involved parent.

son and dad happy hug
Credit: iStock / LSOphoto

The study found that fathers of younger children were the most involved, engaging with their kids several times a week, while fathers of older children may not engage as much, but were well informed of their child's activities. Harsh discipline was only something that happened sometimes with fathers of younger children, and fathers of younger and older children are embracing their roles as an active parent and act warmly towards their children.

Fathers of older children also agreed that their children come to them for emotional support, which is exactly what any parent can hope for.

The study states it's important for men to know that expressing their feelings is not only OK, but will allow them to be a better father. It encourages men to be an example for their children in allowing them to show their feelings, and to not be afraid of being hands on and nurturing with their kids.

"Fathers continue to navigate changing social expectations," Lee Essig, another co-author of the study and BYU graduate student said. "As current social trends are pushing for men's increased familial involvement, we see more fathers stepping up to engage more actively in their children's lives in various ways. As we teach boys and men to be more emotionally aware and cultivate emotional well-being, these men and boys will be able to become better fathers for their children, as they will be able to provide for them not only through financial contributions, but by being emotionally and mentally present for their children and their wellbeing."

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