Can I Get a Study on Stay at Home Dads, Please?

While I think they are trying to say something vaguely positive, the fact that there are studies being done on the effects of working mothers on infants is over the line. Where are the studies on the effects of men working? Where are the studies on the benefits of stay-at-home husbands?

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  1. Posted August 6, 2010 at 4:35 pm | Permalink
  2. Posted August 6, 2010 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

    “Where are the studies on the effects of men working? Where are the studies on the benefits of stay-at-home husbands?”

    I think these are very good questions. As the economy moved more and more men off the farm and into armies, mines, factories, and offices and away from their wives and children, the impact on the family has rarely been commented. One apparent impact – at least in Western societies – is that the norm of who retained primary custody of the children after divorce shifted from the father to the mother.

    Another good question for any researchers out there would be to the impact on children when, after divorce, the mother has primary custody and the father has significantly less time to nurture his children. A related question would be what would be the impact on the children of changing the societal norm to a presumption of shared-parenting after a divorce.

    Kudos for questioning this article. It needed it.

  3. Posted August 6, 2010 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

    From a Google search of study stay at home dad, all block paragraphs are direct quotes:

    The national survey of more than 200 men revealed that those who reported receiving support from their mate, family and friends also experienced high levels of psychological well-being and relationship satisfaction. Fathers who said they felt confident about their parenting skills seemed much happier. Of those, the ones who encouraged their children to develop independence and who felt comfortable being nurturing and affectionate with the children expressed the highest degree of satisfaction.

    Describing his philosophy of childrearing, one interviewee stated, “I’m encouraging my daughter to develop into herself, to be a person who can confidently and enthusiastically pursue what she wants.”

    Another commented, “I just want her to grow up without having the stereotypical limitations. I want her to feel she can do anything she wants to do, be anything she wants to be.”


    Lest you think I spend all my time going after researchers who write lousy research papers on how at-home dads may be hampering the educational readiness of their sons, I want to flag a wonderful analysis of 24 studies of fatherhood by a group of researchers from New Zealand’s Maxim Institute called Going Further With Fathers (pdf).

    The conclusion after poring over those 24 studies was that there is a staggering amount of evidence that fathers play a unique role in the lives of their children, and that the impact of fatherhood is greatest the more involved a father is.

    Rebel Dad has done a lot of work for you. Try clicking on that Maxim Institute link at his site for a 130 page long report with sections such as:

    A. Can father involvement make unique contributions to child well-being?
    “Unique additive contributions” associated with father involvement
    B. Quality time in means less “time out”
    Unique contributions to behavioural outcomes
    C. Thinking straight—when dads act as a compass
    Unique contributions to psychological well-being
    D. DIY—High self-esteem for kids
    Unique contributions to self-esteem, attachment and overall life satisfaction
    E. Attention + access + assistance = attainment
    Unique contributions to school attitudes, cognitive development and school achievement
    F. Can anyone play Dad? Is he just a source of income?
    Research that suggests fathers’ contributions are not unique

    Also Basically, there is quite a bit if you want to find it. Ten seconds on Google.

    Most of what I have ever read about the topic (from the child’s standpoint) is positive. Men who take a greater role as caregivers for their children, however, may face a variety of problems, such as being taken seriously, or finding support among other almost exclusively female, main caregivers to their children, making stay at home dad support groups and sites necessary.

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