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The Responsibilities of Fathers

The role of fathers in today’s society. Certain stereotypes fathers are faced with, which in turn can affect their parenting style.

Attitudes, stereotypes, and individual circumstances play a major part in determining Fathers responsibilities in today’s society. Nowadays the everyday conventional family seems to be a concept of the past, with more women now in full time employment, and more stay home dads securing the role of home-maker’. Furthermore, considering today’s society, some parents find themselves in the position of splitting parental responsibilities in a number of ways in order to secure personal and individual achievement inside and out of employment. To what extent however depends on the dynamics of a family, which includes parents that are together, separated and divorced.

When considering attitudes and certain stereotypes that fathers face, although times are changing, and men are now becoming more involved in a holistic aspect of their children’s lives, their still appears to be barriers preventing full involvement. A children and families centre review (1990) found that fathers were either excluded by other parents, or excluded themselves from becoming involved with child centres and children services.

Furthermore mothers initially assumed that fathers did not want to be involved. Here, responsibilities of fathers are undetermined by individuals including dads themselves. Although reviewed in 1990 and therefore a little dated, a more recent children and families centre review (2006) found that a father refused to return to a parent and toddlers group as he felt he was being judged, and this basis was on the fact he was one of few males attending. As can be seen, traditional and old fashioned attitudes are still held, even if by a minority, in today’s society.

Fathers’ responsibilities are at times often challenged by way of activity. By this the traditional view that men teach their children certain physical approaches to child development (including football, other sports and activities with a physical or tangible outcome) can also provide barriers for involvement in other aspects of that development. If this is the case then other aspects of a child’s development are seen to be left for the mother to deal with (including feelings, and other things requiring a softer approach or outcome). This makes it difficult for fathers to cross over to the softer side, in fear of not living up to the so called macho’ image, and coming across as showing too much of their feminine side. Furthermore, with unwritten parental guides’ of what both parents should or should not bring to the family table, will be challenged, changed and jumbled. As a result life as we know it will never be the same, men will be counselling their kids, sobbing alongside them to movies like Bambi, while mothers will be taking their children to football matches screaming and shouting at the opposing fans!

On a serious final note, whether fathers, mothers or something in between, our overall aim as parents is to provide the best that we can for our children. We must do that whichever way we can, forget the stereotypes, forget the unwritten rules and regulations. Just because we are men or women, it doesn’t make us all the same. We are all different, and how different can vary on a number of things, including age, culture and religious beliefs.

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