Opinion | Family

News Flash: Dads Are Nurturing

More fathers want an active role in caring for their children. Will U.S. employers be able to adjust?

Boston College's Center for Work and Family released a study last month that tracked changes in the way American fathers view themselves and their roles at home and work. The study looked at married, educated, and employed first-time fathers of children between ages 3 and 18 months, and suggests that the concept of dads as primarily breadwinners is outmoded. Today's dads are defining good fatherhood as a relationship involving lots of time, attention, and nurturing. The study also suggested, though, that while fathers may understand their role in these terms, their employers (and others, such as extended families) do not.

In her New York Times article highlighting this and other recent studies on fatherhood, Tara Parker-Pope suggested that dads now "feel as stressed as mom," pulled between expectations to be both a provider and nurturer. "Men are typically the primary breadwinner," Parker-Pope notes, "but they also increasingly report a desire to spend more time with their children. To ...

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