Do we really need dads?
Vincent Daly of The Huffington Post wrote Thursday that fathers often struggle with the expectations that accompany parenthood.
“We are told to ‘man up.’ We are told to accept this new phase in our lives rather than cower from it because to do any less would be a sign of weakness,” he wrote. “And so men seek out ways to cope. That may translate into burying ourselves deep in work, or more time at the gym, or even falling prey to vices that falsely promise a means to ease the pain.”
But it’s not just having kids where men are slipping away. Scott Stanley of Family Studies wrote on May 14 that men don’t really have interest in marrying, even though there are tremendous benefits to being a married man. Being married, Stanley wrote, helps men grow up and mature.
“In addition to being happier and healthier than bachelors, married men earn more money and live longer,” Stanley wrote. “And men can reap such benefits even from mediocre marriages, while for women, the benefits of marriage are more strongly linked to marital quality.”
There are reasons that society needs dad, though, according to Willis L. Krumholz of The Federalist. He wrote that as the American dream slips away from U.S. citizens, family traditions and importance is also being lost. Recent policy changes by the U.S. government are affecting the number of dads, too, and lessening their importance, Krumholz wrote.
But the importance of dads cannot be forgotten, Krumholz wrote.
“The role a father plays in a child’s life is a role that the government can never hope to fill, and government’s attempts to do so have been devastating,” he wrote. “There is nothing wrong with a hand up, but driving dad away negates any help the government can hope to provide.”
In fact, Krumholz wrote that rebuilding the American family and placing more value in a father-filled world will help bring the American dream back.
“Americans don’t deserve to be stuck in cradle to grave poverty and government dependence,” he wrote. “The safety net should thus be used to help families stay intact. This is compassionate, it is conservative, and it is rooted in basic American values. This is how we realize the American Dream in the 21st century. After 50 years of pain, heartache, and broken families, we must do better.”
And part of that may be embracing the working dad. David M. Perry wrote for The Chronicle of Higher Education that working dads are often put under heavy pressure to succeed and should be championed, and not critiqued for not parenting in the same visible way moms might be. In fact, many fathers are participating in parenting habits, yet don’t receive many benefits that moms do.
“Fathers, too, need to advocate for paid parental leave, child-care assistance, flexible tenure clocks, and a culture that accepts the notion of male caregiving as normal,” Perry wrote. “And they need to advocate loudly, using their privileged position as a lever to move the structures of our profession and lead the way in the broader culture.”
This is something that men want, too. A new study by Boston College found that 89 percent of men find paternity leave important, showing a shift in culture where men are looking for time off to care for their kid, according to NPR.
“Paternity leave might not yet be making waves in the American political landscape, but private firms ought to take note,” wrote Anne Miller for NPR. “... Businesses: Want a leg up on the competition when it comes to hiring rock stars? Consider treating them like moms.”