The Evolution of Dads In Parenting

The Evolution of Dads In Parenting

Birth of the modern dads

Dads these days are not like dads of previous generations.

They are taking a more active parenting role than was expected of their dad or their grandfathers. Where playing catch was considered an "involved father". This is a further advancement in the changing gender roles or simply the removal of gender specific roles in parenting.

Old fashioned dad

Most of this progressive movement is focused on women taking on roles that they were not expected or allowed to participate in like getting a job, having a career or really anything other than staying home to cook, clean and do the laundry while raising the kids. Something that sounds ridiculous to many now but was an established norm not too long ago.

Shift in traditional gender roles

With women rightly taking on non-traditional gender roles, that leaves men to take a more active role in everything that was typically expected of women. That includes housework but it especially means taking a more active role in raising children.

Nothing shows that shift more than dads taking a more active role in changing diapers when their kids are younger.

Chikiroo dad

A study from 2000 showed that in 1982, 43% of dads said they had never changed a diaper. By 2000 that number was down to 3%. A further study in 2010 found that 65% of dads ‘helped a great deal’ with diaper changing. That’s a huge change from one generation to the next.

Breaking down the stereotype

Hi, I'm Matt Hines, I co-founded Chikiroo Baby with my wife, Siska. For me, I never understood why I wouldn’t change diapers as a dad. It’s not really a feminine type task. If anything it’s comparable to taking out the trash, something men typically do. I guess my attitude has always been that all parenting tasks should be shared and nothing should fall completely on one parent, no matter how it was done before. And more and more dads are thinking just like me.

Chikiroo family

As a dad, nothing is more discouraging than someone saying that you’re ‘babysitting’ your children. Either the person doesn’t think they’re your children or they don’t view a dad watching their kids as being a regular occurrence. It’s past time to do away with the stereotype that dads don’t take care of their kids. Times have changed, it’s time to recognize that many dads are now highly active in most parenting activities.

Congressional progress for future dads

That’s not to say that there hasn’t been progress made in many areas of society. One person leading the cause is US Congressman Jimmy Gomez. When Jimmy was elected in 2022, he set out to fix problems parents face but more specifically dads. He created the Congressional Dads Caucus to work on these issues. Two of the main issues they have worked on have been lowering child care costs and getting universal paid parental leave. 

Dads Caucus

Being the Dads Caucus, they focus more on paternity leave because many employers don’t give men paid leave. That goes back to the stereotype that only the moms raise the kids and there’s no reason dads would need much time off after the birth of a child. It’s a fight for many dads because if they don’t have paid leave available, they need to choose between the paycheck that pays the bills and spending time with their newborn. Luckily my job gave me several weeks off for the births of both of our daughters but many dads can’t say the same. With the Dads Caucus, dads now have a group of advocates working to modernize the role of dads in raising children.

Portrayal of dads in the media

Another positive change has been the way TV and movies portray dads. For many years the father’s parenting role was used as a comedic punch line rather than to build up dads and encourage them to be more active in raising kids.

Married with children

The dads in many sitcoms were portrayed as idiots who had no clue when it came to taking care of their kids. Luckily that is starting to change with shows going away from formula, portraying dads in a better light. Some shows even show dads as highly active in parenting. Probably the best example is the “kids show” Bluey.

Bluey Bandit

I put kids show in quotes because it’s a cartoon made for kids but it may be more popular with parents, especially dads. On Bluey, the dad Bandit plays a key role raising the kids, playing games with them, teaching them lessons and being completely hands-on with his two daughters in the show.

They do such a good job that some parents think that Bandit and the mom - Chili - set unrealistic expectations that parents can’t live up to. Bluey’s portrayal of Bandit and other dads has done a great job of showing what dads are capable of and what many modern dads are out there doing every day.

Support for modern hands-on dads

Over on Facebook, many groups have been created from the appreciation of the show, especially by dads. I am a member of one of the groups which has become more of a support group for dads as much as it is about Bluey.

This is another evolution dads are going through - a more vulnerable side where they open up to discuss their issues in parenting, marriage and in life. The group is full of threads on parenting, marital issues, job issues and other issues they may not feel comfortable talking with friends and family in person. The sort of conversations that may have been had over beers but more than likely just never happened.

With groups like this one, Dads express their feelings in ways that they were never able to and receive support rather than ridicule. Support that gives them the emotional strength to change the parenting expectations of dads.

Chikiroo dad

At Chikiroo Baby, we support all the dads out there no matter what parenting role they decide to take on.

We see that society hasn’t caught up to the evolution of modern dads especially when it comes to diaper changing. Our universal diaper changing station gives dads a lot more options to help change their baby’s diaper when businesses don’t have good solutions. Chikiroo offers solutions not only when there’s no changing station but also improves safety and comfort when used as a changing pad.

Shop Chikiroo Wearable Changing Station now!

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