What type of dad are you?

While growing up, there were a few pearls of wisdom our parents shared with us – particularly our mums. “No pudding unless you finish your dinner”; “Don’t sit that close to the TV, you’ll get square eyes”; “Carrots make you see in the dark”; “Do as I say, not as I do”. On the occasions where we failed to take heed of our mother’s warnings, the phrase Just wait until your dad gets homewas usually enough to return us to being on our best behaviour.

Traditionally, dads have been viewed as the prime disciplinarians, automatically making them the bad cop in the family and the person who always had the final say. However, new research suggests that fathers are now moving away from these conventional gender stereotypes and adopting different roles in the household instead.

What does it mean to be a Dad today?

Nickelodeon Australia commissioned a study to investigate the role fathers play in their children’s lives. The study, Wait Until Your Father Gets Home, revealed that dads today are less strict and have a greater involvement in parenting and decision-making regarding their kids.

The research involved four qualitative group discussions, fourteen personal interviews, and over 900 online surveys. “Today’s dads are increasingly more involved in the day-to-day decisions around the household. They purchase groceries, make decisions on what clothes and toys to buy and are involved in choosing day care. The phrase ‘wait until your father gets home’ is now perceived more as a reward than a threat.” – Kirsty Bloore, Senior Research Director of Nickelodeon’s parent company, Viacom.

The generational shift in parenting…

This shift from being a disciplinarian to a carer signifies that modern-day dads are more hands-on and understanding. Of the 900 participants, 78% believed that they were doing a good job as a dad; 80% of the respondents felt lucky to be a dad; and, 50% believed that being a father was much harder than they thought.

Furthermore, 44% stated that parenting was harder than in previous generations; 62% said they wanted to be more involved, but workplace expectations acted as a barrier; and, 44% felt the pressure of balancing caregiving over being the breadwinner.

Based on these findings, researchers developed three categories of modern day dads:

Provider Dads

Provider Dads take on a traditional role of being the primary breadwinners and help with caregiving responsibilities when asked. They tend to take parental direction from the caregiver, who may or may not be working. These Dads tend to ‘mind’ the kids rather than actively interact with them.

Super-substitute Dads

Like Provider Dads, Super-substitute Dads also take on the traditional role of being the primary breadwinner. However, when it comes to caregiving responsibilities, they use a ‘tag team’ system of parenting on weekdays and equal caregiving on weekends. They are also eager to take on more traditional female tasks when required.

Carer Dads

Carer Dads are the primary caregivers. They may or may not be the breadwinner, and have a partner who works full or part-time. They enjoy being with the kids and feel responsible for their care. These dads see themselves as being pro-active and ignore gender stereotypes pertaining to parenting. Compared to the other two categories, Carer Dads have the greatest breadth of responsibilities.

However, that’s not all…

At Arise, we have identified a fourth category of modern day Dad – the Solopreneur! These dads are work-at-home professionals who combine the satisfaction of being a hands-on parent with the pleasure of working for themselves.

So, which type of dad are you? If option 4 sounds like your ideal scenario, connect with us on Twitter and Facebook to find out how to be your own boss and play a more active part in your child’s development.