Dad's Role Has Changed Over the Years

A look at the changing role of fathers and how you can become the father of "today."

The role of dad has sure changed from 10-20 years ago. We even have stay-at-home dads now. Dads aren't relegated to the role of disciplinarian anymore. Today's fathers are enjoying a more nurturing role.

A generation or two ago, dads were often shadowy figures who disappeared at dawn and returned at dusk. Their role in the family was often relegated to breadwinner and disciplinarian (remember hearing "just wait until your father gets home"?). Thankfully times have changed. Today a lot of dads are actively participating in parenting - from coaching during childbirth, to parental leave, to simply being more involved and nurturing on a day-to-day basis.

Today, it's common to see a dad at the park with his kids or pushing a stroller down the street. All in all, fathers are more actively participating in parenting their kids on every level and this is good news, says Dr. T. Berry Brazelton, renowned pediatrician and author. "Fathers are getting the nod of approval from childbirth classes and on, that being involved in parenting is a good thing. There are studies now which show that if a father is involved with children from infancy, by 7 years of age they have a higher I.Q., do better in school and have a better sense of humor."

Still, some men may find becoming an involved parent difficult because the role of a nurturer is a foreign one. If that's the case, then family therapist Keith Marlowe suggests men turn to their own childhood memories to help them out. "All men have an incredible resource, and that is once they were a little boy. If they can take the time to become aware of what they needed when they were a little boy and what hurt them, then they can do the things that were good and avoid the things that were painful. These memories are a tremendous resource."



APA Reference
Staff, H. (2008, November 27). Dad's Role Has Changed Over the Years, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 23 from

Last Updated: August 19, 2019

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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