My friend and his wife just recently gave birth to their first child. They both have careers so I wasn’t sure who was going to take care of the baby while they were at work. Would they put the baby in daycare? leave her with a family member or neighbor during the day? or would one of them give of their career to be with her? When asked who was going to take care of the baby, my friend said he was going to quit his job and stay home with her. I was surprised and excited for him.
Not too long after talking to him I came across an interesting article on stay at home dads and the benefits that come from it. For those who are stay at home dads, know anyone who is, or if you just want to know about the benefits, I thought you might find this information interesting too. The article, "Stay-at-Home Dads: At-home dads can benefit children and mother" by Patrick Tucker (2005), focuses on studies performed by Robert Frank, a professor of child development at Oakton Community College in Illinois. One of the biggest benefits of stay-at-home dads is the relationship they develop with their child. They are more involved and they become a larger part of their child’s life and a bigger influence, compared to that of a father from a traditional home (one where the father is employed outside the home and the mother stays at home). Furthermore, not only do the children have a stronger relationship with their father but they are still able to have a strong relationship with their mother. Mothers are more involved with their children when they arrive home from work, which creates a strong influence and bond. In contrast, studies show fathers that work outside the home are less likely to be involved with the children when they arrive home (Tucker, 2005). In addition, to the benefits of the relationship with the child, when a father stays at home research showed that both labor and child care were more evenly distributed. Many of the fathers cooked, dressed/feed the children, and continued with the upkeep of the house and yard, a role more commonly associated with mothers (Tucker, 2005).
It does not seem uncommon to see the traditional family roles changing, Professor Frank said it best when he stated that “A new family structure is emerging, one in which the at-home father provides a strong but caring influence, and a mother continues to play a critical role in the child’s development. She continues to exhibit nurturing ability, and in addition brings new experiences related to working outside the home. The at-home-dad family model may serve as the catalyst that moves society beyond some gender-role stereotypes and may play a role in the future of the family as an institution (Tucker, 2005).” I find it refreshing that a father would like to stay home to take care of their children. This helps them create a great relationship and become more involved in their child’s life.
Tucker, Patrick (2005). Stay-at-Home Dads: At-home dads can benefit children and mother. Futurist, 39 (5), 12-13.