For years, most of the research about fatherhood has centered on the consequences of its absence in low-income communities. Much of the policy debate has involved divorced fathers’ custody rights. It wasn’t until the late 1990s that scientists began to more intently study how fatherhood profoundly changes men physiologically, and social scientists began picking up on surveys that showed fathers yearned to spend more time with their children. Thus began the research into what they called the nurturing “new father.” Time studies began finding that fathers nearly tripled the amount of time they spend with their children from 1965 to 2000, and had done so even as the marriage rate fell and divorce rates and births outside of marriage soared. By 2008, researchers were finding that fathers with working wives were consistently doing more solo child care and taking more full responsibility for children than fathers with nonworking wives, especially when the children were infants and toddlers and time demands were greatest. By 2011, studies picked up on the fact that more fathers in the United States, Germany, Norway, and the United Kingdom were becoming nurturing “new fathers,” but primarily on weekend. A series of time studies began emerging in the Nordic countries that found that fathers who tool solo parental leave were more likely to spend more time with their children and have close relationships with them as they grew. . . . The fathers were also more likely to cut back on their work hours and to spend more time on housework—the first steps toward true gender equity with their partners.

– Brigid Schulte, Overwhelmed Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time





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