Calling all dads! What type of dad are you?
A recent study of modern Australian dads revealed that although fathers are more proactive in their parenting, they still feel that they are portrayed in the media as lacklustre parents.
The study by Nickelodeon titled "Wait until your father gets home" attempts to challenge the stereotype of dads as being only disciplinarians and financial providers, and presents the shifts in the way society views fatherhood; with dads increasingly being accepted as being nurturing, sensitive, and more involved in raising their kids.
But surely we're not complete bumbling oafs when it comes to being a dad, right? This less-than-encouraging portrayal of fatherhood common in the media is a topic I feel strongly about as a dad myself. Adding career pressures and society’s traditional expectations in the mix can make being a modern father quite a challenging experience, where men often don’t know how and where to express their concerns.
The study suggested that there's three types of dads:
Provider dads – These are the extremely hard-working dads who, like from my own father's generation, have the best intentions and will do everything to ensure their kids are well taken care of by means of being the primary financial provider for the family.
Super-sub dads – This type of dad is not an underwater means of transportation, a long sandwich or a type of lesser man. In fact they're the type that strive for an equal share of the parenting duties that mums have traditionally been seen as responsible for. They're the proactive dads who can be relied on when mum needs to tap out of the wrestling match that is raising kids in this day and age; a great substitute for mum but a great parent in their own right.
Carer dads – like super-mums, these dads are the emerging super-parent and have been stepping up to the challenges and responsibilities of parenting that were traditionally seen as a mothers’ domain. In families where there’s flipping of the traditional gender roles of father-as-breadwinner and mother-as-primary-carer, Carer dads are just as amazing as their mum counterparts.
As for these labels, they're certainly not prescriptive - I find myself in the zone of a Super-Sub dad most days, but work arrangements sometimes require me to be completely a Provider. And other days I get blessed to be able to spend maximum time with the kids and take on the role of a Carer dad (mums, dads and other primary carers, you are indeed awesome!)
Thinking about my dad journey so far [link: http://ydad.com.au] (and those of my fellow dads and dad bloggers, it's no secret that we're committed to making a positive impact in our kids' lives. Whether we're hard at work so we can keep a roof over our family, or rockin' the primary carer role that mums do and have been doing so well, at the end of the day as parents we're all trying our best.
By acknowledging and owning the call to be a more active parent, maybe it's also worth asking modern fathers: what type of dad do you want to be?