The concept of stay at home fathers is a rich addition to the influx of gender roles in the society. Albeit this idea is contentious in many non-western societies, this paper argues that traditional gender roles are no longer patriarchal and with the continuous crossover of gender roles, the concept of stay at home fathers should be socially acceptable.
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Relative to this view, this paper acknowledges the ramifications of accepting men as primary caregivers for children because conventionally, the society regards women as primary caregivers and men as the providers.
Why stay-at-Home Fathers should be Accepted
Influx of Gender Roles
Unlike in the past 100 years when every gender had a clearly defined role in the society; today, there is a very thin line that demarcates the roles of different genders (Helms, Walls, Crouter, & McHale, 2010). Indeed, with the introduction of feminist movements, more women are taking up more career opportunities and social roles that would have otherwise been a preserve of men. It is therefore increasingly becoming difficult to find fixed gender roles (Helms et al., 2010).
This is the underlying issue that informs the acceptance of men as stay at home fathers. Indeed, since it is becoming more difficult to find gender-specific roles in the society, men and women should be allowed to be stay at home parents. More specifically, men who transcend the traditional stereotypical role of men as breadwinners and women as caregivers should not be condemned for going against conventional norms in the society (Rochlen, McKelley, & Whittaker, 2010).
Perhaps the most common reason why the concept of stay at home fathers is becoming more acceptable today is the economic advantages associated with the same (Fischer & Anderson, 2012). These economic advantages are only true in a situation where a wife makes more income than a husband. Pursued by logic, many men who prefer to stay at home choose to do so if their women would make more money than they would. This way, children would enjoy the parental attention that is needed for their growth and development process.
Unlike a situation where a woman stays at home when a husband would make less money, the concept of stay at home fathers provides an opportunity for families to maximize their economic benefits and take care of their children at the same time. This is an optimum framework for families to operate in. Indeed, it is better to be pragmatic about the implications of one spouse working for less money than refusing to stay at home because a man cannot do what is perceived to be a woman’s job.
Social Ramifications for the Acceptance of Stay At Home Fathers
Psychologists have established that most children who grow up in an environment where they do not have adequate parental attention tend to be emotionally distant, aggressive, and angry (Grolnick, 2013, p. 37). When such children become adults, they also become difficult to control and are more vulnerable to social ills, such as drug abuse, theft, and such like factors.
However, when at least one parent is present in a child’s development, there is more social harmony because such children have a higher likelihood of growing up to be responsible adults because parents would inculcate family values in their development. Fathers and children also develop stronger social bonds that also contribute to the overall development of family cohesion (Grolnick, 2013).
Positive Cognitive and Educational Outcome
Fathers have in the past been blamed for being absent in their children’s developmental years. However, the concept of stay at home fathers introduces a shift in this perception because it provides fathers with an opportunity to be present in their children’s development.
The availability of fathers in their children’s development has several positive ramifications for children’s development. Many researchers affirm the view that fathers play a critical role in the cognitive development of their children and the improvement of their educational levels too (Lamanna, Riedmann, & Strahm, 2010).
Likewise, studies that have specifically focused on the role of fathers in their children’s development show that many fathers play a vital role in the emotional development of their children and how they will interact with other people in the future (Lamanna et al., 2010). Fathers who are actively involved in their children’s upbringing therefore nurture a healthier society by bringing up children who are equally healthy and more emotionally satisfied.
The concept of stay at home fathers should be a socially accepted issue because managing a home and raising children are difficult tasks that require at least one parent at home.
Based on the economic and social benefits associated with being a stay at home father, this paper shows that the possibility of raising a healthier and a more emotionally fulfilled society is highly feasible in a society that accepts stay at home fathers. Besides, men should embrace the stay at home concept as it is more fulfilling to them and their families if their wives have the opportunity of advancing their careers.
Fischer, J., & Anderson, V. N. (2012). Gender role attitudes and characteristics of stay-at-home and employed fathers. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 13(1), 16-31.
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Grolnick, W. (2013). The Psychology of Parental Control: How Well-meant Parenting Backfires. New York, United States of America: Psychology Press.
Helms, H. M., Walls, J. K., Crouter, A. C., & McHale, S. M. (2010). Provider role attitudes, marital satisfaction, role overload, and housework: A dyadic approach. Journal of Family Psychology, 24(5), 568-577.
Lamanna, M., Riedmann, A., & Strahm, A. (2010). Marriages: Making Choices in a Diverse Society. London, United Kingdom: Cengage Learning.
Rochlen, A. B., McKelley, R. A., & Whittaker, T. A. (2010). Stay-at-home fathers’ reasons for entering the role and stigma experiences: A preliminary report. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 11(4), 279-285.