A new study conducted by Nickelodeon Australia has found that traditional gender-based roles are evolving, and that today’s dads are more hands-on, present, patient and understanding than ever before.
The study, entitled Wait Until Your Father Gets Home, included 900 online surveys, four qualitative group discussions and 14 face-to-face interviews conducted in Australia between December 2016 and January 10 2017.
According to the report, the father’s role as the primary disciplinarian is shifting. Today’s dads see themselves as less strict, feared, distant or work-focused than their own fathers. In fact, most see their role as protector, mentor and teacher.
However, 44% say parenting is harder than it was in previous generations, and 50% find that child-rearing is a lot harder than they thought it would be.
Looking at how dads balance parenthood and their jobs, 62% say they want to be more involved in their children’s lives, but face expectations to stay at work. More than half of dads surveyed agree that workplaces are less understanding of the changing roles of being a father.
On a more positive note, 78% believe they are doing a good job as dads, and 80% feel lucky to be fathers.
The study also identified three different categories of modern dads—provider dads, super-sub dads and carer dads.
Provider dads are the primary breadwinners who receive parental direction from the caregiver who is not working or working part time.
Super-subs are also the primary breadwinners, but also act as relief caregivers. They are eager caregivers outside of work and employ a tag-team system of parenting on weekdays and equal caregiving on weekends.
Carer dads, meanwhile, are the primary caregivers and are only occasionally or not the breadwinner, and have a partner that works full or part time. They’re hands-on, proactive and ignore parenting-related gender bias.
The majority of dads, according to the study, also want marketers and programmers to more accurately reflect their involvement in household and parenting roles. In fact,42% agree the media portrays dads as stupid or clueless, while 50% believe the media should depict dads as sensitive and nurturing by showing them interacting with their kids, and enjoying activities with them.
Australia was also recently included in another study by Viacom’s global consumer insights division entitled Little Big Kids: Preschoolers Ready For Life. The research revealed that 74% of Australian parents believe their preschoolers learn best through play, and 82% of Aussie parents encourage their children to play outside.