Stern father figures and breadwinning Dads are a thing of the past. In recent decades, the role of fatherhood has shifted dramatically. White Ribbon, a group of men and boys working to end violence against women and girls, recently introduced the Involved Father and Gender Equity Project.
The initiative examined the changing role of fathers in society. Men who are more involved in parenting say that it benefits them, their partners, and their children. Here’s how:
- Develops Empathy: Fathers who took advantage of parental leave benefits felt more attached to their children. They were also more empathetic towards people in child-rearing roles.
- Strengthens Partnership: Involved Dads felt a greater emotional attachment to their partners.
- Promotes Equality: Men who engaged in parenting felt as though they promoted gender equality and acted as role models for their children.
Looking for ways to be more involved in your child’s life? Give these bonding tips a try:
- Play Games: Try two-player sports such as badminton or tennis, or two-player child-friendly video or board games. Even a walk to the park is great with just dad.
- Be a Teacher: Whether you show your kids how to throw a baseball or read them your favourite story book, this is an excellent way to bond while learning.
- Work Together: Enlist your kids to help you complete easy and safe household tasks from your to-do list, such as watering plants or sweeping.
Here are some interesting Dad stats to consider from the 2014 White Ribbon survey of 53 Ontario fathers:
- 3% = The number of fathers taking parental leave in 2000.
- 20 % = The number of fathers taking parental leave in 2006.
- 50% = Amount of time that the most involved fathers said they spent with their children each day.
- 72% = Number of dads who say they feel “really involved” in parenting.
- 40% = Number of fathers who say they feel “very satisfied” with their involvement.
Originally published in ParentsCanada magazine, June/July 2014.