The world is dynamic and has witnessed major changes over the past decades. Lifestyles have changed and so have priorities. The role of fathers has not been left behind too; in the past three decades fathers have changed greatly. This is an evolution that has been necessitated by the changes occurring in the various aspects of human lives and relations. Nothing would exemplify this change in roles than taking a critical look at the image and responsibilities of fathers in the 1970s. By then fathers were highly authoritative and much of their time was spent working.
They were expected to be the sole beneficiaries in the family. Fathers took care of the financial obligations such as school fees, bills, rent and others. Mothers were expected to play good housewives and take care of the children and the house. Respect and reverence characterized the father’s image; they were hard to understand and were looked upon by everyone in the house. This is a role that would slowly and gradually start changing on the 1980’s probably as feminism became institutionalized in almost all modern societies.
Women were no longer wiling to stay indoors watching the house and children. They were taking up more challenging tasks that priory were a preserve of the men. This newfound competition would force men to adapt and start spending more time with their children. Fathers started being more responsible and nurturing to their children, playing a visible role in their upbringing. Men at this time were no longer the sole breadwinners; women were chipping in and meeting some of the costs of running the family and thus spending more time away from home.
Men hence were forced to make concessions and play an active role with the children. Nothing has seen a rapid evolution during the past three decades than the father involvement in their children’s lives. A study conducted by Levine and Pleck amongst others operationalizes the above fact. The study revealed that over the last recent decades, fathers were able to spend more time than before with an increase of over 10 percent. It is also this period that saw fathers watching over their children at home when their mothers are out working. (Levine, James and Pittnsky T. , 1997).
The image of father across the 70’s and the 80 changed considerably, but it is the late 90s and the last years of this millennium that has almost accorded modern fathers completely new roles that would have been unimaginable thirty years ago. It is not in question that fathers are no longer the breadwinners and the authoritative figures of the past. Parents are supporting each other financially, emotionally and in other essential cores of raising the families.
Today’s fathers are looking for their children and changing their diapers. They are taking the children to school and helping them with homework at home. They are even raising the children single handedly in case of death, separation or divorce of a spouse and doing a commendable job out of it. There are those that are divorced and granted periodic visitations, a new role that many are still grappling with. Being a good father is no longer defined along economic lines only, it is a composite product of responsibility at home and being there fore the children.
Fathers are playing an important role and being more close to their children than before, their satisfaction according to surveys, emanates from spending more time with their families. Indeed the roles have changed. Men of today are supposed and expected by the society to take up more roles than before. They are no longer inhabited by the societal traditional norms that could see them present a macho figure. In today’s world, they are playing an active role bringing up the kids rather than sticking to the financial obligations alone.
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