Yes, dads are more involved in their childrens’ lives than ever. But that doesn’t mean they’re not still the butt of almost every parenting joke.
Just think about the 2012 Huggies ad claiming that the brand’s diapers were the ultimate “Dad Test” — a joke that landed flat, as a backlash prompted the diaper company to pull the campaign from Facebook. Then, of course, there was that 2007 Verizon ad, which was banned for depicting another hapless “Everybody Loves Raymond”-type of father. Shows like Lifetime’s “Deadbeat Dads” and Fox’s “Bad Dads” have also raised more than a few eyebrows. Sensing a theme here?
With an ever-increasing number of dual-earner families and households in which the woman is the main breadwinner, the roles of fathers are shifting, even if public perception hasn’t yet, Matthew Weinshenker, assistant professor of sociology at Fordham University, told The Huffington Post. (That’s to say nothing of how growing numbers of same-sex couples are redefining what it means to be a “mother” or a “father.” Such couples are pushing past traditional gender roles and broadening the range of relationships that children can have with their parents — and their kids are turning out just fine, research shows.)
Fortunately, a growing body of scientific research is there to back up these poor, patronized dads. Here are eight things science has taught us about the father-child relationship that might convince you to move beyond the “bumbling dad” stereotype.