ADVERTISEMENT
See Inside May / June 2010

Family Guy: Fathers No Longer Just Backup Parents

Move over, "mommy brain". Men go through their own biological changes after a baby is born. But dads are programmed to challenge their kids, not coddle them



iStockphoto

Mark Oppenheimer, a part-time stay-at-home father of two young girls, is used to stares. “When I’m walking down the street with one baby strapped to my chest and the other in a stroller—and the kids all look happy—and I walk by a group of mothers, they’re just blown away,” he says. “The easiest way in the world to get a smile is to be a man with a baby.”

Fatherhood has undergone a profound change in the past half a century. In 1965 fathers were spending 2.6 hours a week on child care; by 2000 that figure had reached 6.5 hours. There are three times as many stay-at-home fathers as there were a decade ago, and families headed by single fathers are the fastest-growing household type in the U.S. “When I started studying American mothers and fathers, the majority of the fathers I studied had never bathed their children. Many of them had never changed a diaper,” says developmental psychologist Michael Lamb of the University of Cambridge. That was in the 1970s. “Now,” he says, “men would feel embarrassed to say they hadn’t changed their children.”

This is only a preview. Get the rest of this article now!

Select an option below:

Customer Sign In

*You must have purchased this issue or have a qualifying subscription to access this content


It has been identified that the institution you are trying to access this article from has institutional site license access to Scientific American on nature.com.
Click here to access this article in its entirety through site license access.

Share this Article:

Comments

You must sign in or register as a ScientificAmerican.com member to submit a comment.
Scientific American Dinosaurs

Get Total Access to our Digital Anthology

1,200 Articles

Order Now - Just $39! >

X

Email this Article

X