As gender norms have evolved in the United States, one of the most important changes has involved the shifting role of the American dad. Compared to their forebears, American fathers are now expected to spend more time with their children and to share the nurturing role that's traditionally fallen to the mother—big developmental bonuses for growing kids. Still, American society is in a transitional phase between old norms and new ones. Pacific Standard has captured these growing pains in some of our favorite stories about fatherhood, collected below.
It's not just because they're self-aggrandizing and delusional. There are social forces at work, too.
The good news is that there are great reasons, backed by science, for dads to spend more time performing basic baby tasks, such as feeding, changing, and bathing Junior.
More paternity leave has actually helped countries' economies, from Japan to Sweden.
We often hear about how important it is for women to eat well and avoid alcohol and drugs while they're pregnant. There's also lots of evidence suggesting it's important for men to live a healthy lifestyle while a couple is planning to conceive. How come we never seem to hear about the fathers' side of that story?
Dads can be nurturing, hands-on, badass parents—just like moms. Advertising is beginning to recognize that, although it's not quite there yet.
One policy analyst argues the child support system is too focused on collecting money, and not focused enough on creative solutions for parents who wish to pay, but don't have the means. "Our concern is about a subset of men who really are struggling to work, who really are struggling to pay the support," says Joy Moses of the Center for American Progress. "And rather than punishing them for some barriers they're experiencing, we suggest maybe we should address those barriers."