The Changing Face of the American Dad

CJ Westerberg, July 11, 2012 10:15 PM


"Rather than having one parent totally identified by the job
and one identified by the parenting,
we both have found a middle ground."

-David Kurtz, father, Fortune

Two notable reads about Dads.  The first, from Fortune, titled "The Changing Face of the American Dad," reports:

More American fathers are assuming an increasingly active role in raising their children, but many employers haven't adequately responded to their changing needs.

Who's going to pick the kids up from soccer practice? Or how about when junior is feeling sick and needs to be collected from the nurse's office? While the answer to
these questions would have been obvious years ago, it certainly isn't today.  But
have employers actually kept up with this shift?

Take the flexible work policies that many employers have developed over the last few decades, as the flood of women entering the workforce demanded a departure from the standard 9-to-5 schedule, in order to handle children's emergencies. It turns out that men are five times as likely to work flexibly on an informal basis, rather than adopting a manager-approved flexible work plan, according to a new study of fathers and work by Boston College's Center for Work and Family.

In the Wall Street Journal's The Secret of Dad's Success, rough and tumble works:

As an estimated 70.1 million fathers prepare to celebrate Father's Day in the U.S., recent research shows that their distinct style of parenting is particularly worth recognition: The way dads tend to interact has long-term benefits for kids, independent of those linked to good mothering.

Beyond rough-and-tumble play, men tend to challenge crying or whining children to use words to express themselves. Men are more likely to startle their offspring, making faces or sneaking up on them to play. Even the way parents hold babies tends to differ, with men cradling infants under their arm in a "football hold" and moms using the "Madonna position" seen in Renaissance artwork--tucked under their chins face-to-face, says Kyle Pruett, co-author of "Partnership Parenting" and a clinical professor of child psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine.

Published June 19, 2011

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The secret message communicated to most young people today by the society around them is that they are not needed, that the society will run itself quite nicely until they - at some distant point in the future - will take over the reigns. Yet the fact is that the society is not running itself nicely... because the rest of us need all the energy, brains, imagination and talent that young people can bring to bear down on our difficulties. For society to attempt to solve its desperate problems without the full participation of even very young people is imbecile.
Alvin Toffler
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