For generations, the gender role stereotype within the family has been the same: the father is a deserved pillar of family, and he has responsibility to be a breadwinner by going out to work to make money rather than staying at home as a homemaker. However, over the past few decades, the conventional gender role stereotypes of family has been largely changed to the point that an increasing number of men choose to be stay-at-home dads instead of being bread-earners. The at-home dad trend is that the father both takes on the role of primary caregiver for children and plays a major part in running the household. Although stay-at-home dads have presented a new perspective on the stereotype of family, some objectors who have satirized the at-home dad phenomenon claim that, despite a new awareness about full-time fathers, stay-at-home fathers are still unacceptable for the majority of general public. Because of this the at-home dad trend has difficulties in replacing the traditional family stereotype of gender roles.
Nevertheless, the tendency of the stay-at-home dad is necessary for modern families to follow, being that not only a stay-at-home dad is a helpful decision for children’s education, but also a profitable choice for their wives’ work. What is more, stay-at-home dads make remarkable efforts on marital equality and satisfaction in their marriage and they enjoy their fatherhood a lot. Hence, stay-at-home fathers should be encouraged and understood by the public instead of being ridiculed and prejudiced against. Fathers’ unique parenting style is greatly beneficial for children’s education and makes children become confident, perspicacious, and self-disciplined. Gender role stereotypes in family insists that fathers are not good at educating children compared with mothers, in terms of men do not have the everlasting patience of tutoring and they may more irritable when they are facing naughty children. In fact, fathers’ education approaches are inclined to be more active, practical and strict than mothers (Turner, 2). Stay-at-home dads are the first teachers of their children, they should teach children to deal with various basic problems, not only behavioral, but also emotional.
Thanks to stay-at-home fathers’ particular masculine characteristics, they prefer to promote children’s intellectual progress through active playing such as building blocks and doing outside exercises than having inanimate conversations. Beyond that, stay-at-home dads tend to create practical activities for their children like repairing gadgets and practicing first-aid measures in case children may get into unpredictable troubles in the future. When children come across frustration, stay-at-home fathers give less immediate assistance for children, because they have particular purposes to train their children’s adaptive capacities when children are lost in frustration. In brief, under the guidance of stay-at-home fathers, children will be more brave, intelligent and independent. So, stay-at-home fathers should be trusted completely and given more chances to be involved in children’s education, their particular tutoring has an unexpected and positive effect to the children. A stay-at-home dad is a necessary decision to free his partner to devote herself to her own career. Couples are willing to adapt to the brand new family pattern within the stay-at-home dad trend due to the fact that breadwinning mothers and full-time fathers can provide a cost-efficient and profitable life for the family.
Orthodox stereotypes of gender roles in family believe that women’s sacred mission is to support their spouses’ careers through concentrating on bringing up children at home. What is more, gender discrimination in the workplace persists that men are more likely to be successful than women in career and this prejudiced verdict deprives women’s working opportunities. However, in recent years, along with the rapid development of economy and society, gender discrimination is not as popular as before. Medved and Rawlins (11) consider that women are perceived to have more potential and are more persevering than men in fierce competition, and they can obtain more unique chances to make their career dreams come true. Meanwhile, in many modern families, women are earning much more than their husbands so that increasing numbers of fathers are pushed to become stay-at-home dads. In addition, most working mothers are anxious about who can take care of their children considerately and economically. Mothers neither want to hire nurses to take care of children by charging costly and needless expenses nor can they bear to make children unattended and lonely.
Therefore, a stay-at-home father is the most appropriate and helpful assistant for his partner to develop her career, as the mother does not need to feel guilty and the family can save a large amount of money. The public should regard stay-at-home fathers as efficient and economic assistants for their wives rather than incapable men, these selfless fathers make their family more cooperative and economic. Stay-at-home father families promote marital equality and couples benefit from their happy marriage (Schindler Zimmerman, 348). Gender role stereotypes in family regards men as the most authoritative character in the family, while women are submissive followers with their husbands. Obsolete family stereotypes advocate that male chauvinism is a powerful guarantee to maintain the stability and permanence of the family. Therefore, women are in lower status than their husbands in marriage and they feel aggrieved and unfair, because they seem to have tons of housework that never finishes. What is more, women’s spouses are too arrogant to understand their wives’ toilsome dedication for the family. Fortunately, a stay-at-home dad is good for reversing the negative situation of a marriage.
Schindler Zimmerman (350) found that leaving a parent at home to take care of children and do housework is a reasonable way to make a stay-at-home parent considerate to their partners. The role reversal of family conveys that stay-at-home dads are householders to perform all household duties so that they can deeply experience their wives’ laborious work at home. Realizing their partners’ incomparable dedication to the families, stay-at-home fathers begin to put their spouses at a high status. Meanwhile, mothers are breadwinners to go to work and they are indeed experiencing the huge pressure on spouses previously in the workplace so that they can comprehend their husbands better. Hence, owing to stay-at-home fathers, marital equality has been rebuilt in which women can be honored and respected by their husbands. In other words, the public should set the stay-at-home dad family as a good example to make more couples enjoy harmonious and sweet marriages. Stay-at-home fathers enjoy their fatherhood and they cherish the precious time together with their children.
An interview record is reported by the New York Amsterdam News that described five girls who are growing up with stay-at-home dads who really enjoy the high quality of life, and their fathers are also willing to be full-time dads due to fatherhood bringing happiness and contentment. Gender role stereotypes in family consider that fathers may get disappointed and bored when they are always staying at home to deal with troublesome children and mundane housework, in view of taking care of children and doing housework are not typical behaviors for men. On the contrary, stay-at-home fathers are proud of becoming caregivers in that they thoroughly devote themselves to give children satisfactory care and accompany children to have unforgettable childhoods. The majority of ambitious working men who are involved in busy and stressful careers are required to set aside extra hours to complete works so that they have little available time to concern with their children’s growth. Becoming stay-at-home dads allows such busy fathers to start new experiences with their children in which they can develop much closer and more trustful relationships with children.
Stay-at-home fathers do not need to struggle with contradictory problems like how can they balance the family and the career or what kinds of ways should they use to make up for the absence of fathers’ company like breadwinning fathers do. Moreover, stay-at-home fathers escape from the strong competition in the workplace so that they can recover peace of mind. In a word, stay-at-home dads enjoy the pleasure of fatherhood as they take a more important and active role in bringing up their children. Therefore, the public should know that stay-at-home dads are most willing to witness their children’s growth with delighted and relieved minds, more acceptances for such gentle fathers’ love should be given. The stay-at-home father is an inevitable tendency for modern families which are profoundly influenced by the sustainable economic and social development. Children are the biggest beneficiaries to become strong, self-confident, and wise adults, since they can receive fire-new and high-efficiency education from their fathers. Women in stay-at-home father families are endowed with more fair and respectful treatment in the workplace, and their position in households can be immensely enhanced.
Also, couples in stay-at-home father families can harvest more cheerful and enviable marriages. Furthermore, stay-at-home fathers are joyfully intoxicated with witnessing the wonderful growth of children. Gender role stereotypes in family should be updated to adapt the development of society and taken into consideration with a dialectical perspective. What is more, stay-at-home fathers are a potential and vulnerable group which must be encouraged and envisaged by the public rather than being satirized and misunderstood. If people can be tolerant and concerned towards stay-at-home fathers, more families can gain happiness and peace through this family structure.
Turner, Randell D. “How Fathers’ Style of Parenting Benefits Their Children’s Development.” Parents as Teachers.org:1-4. Web. 30 Nov. 2011.
Medved, Caryn E, Rawlins, William K. “At-Home Fathers and Breadwinning Mothers: Variations in Constructing Work and Family Lives.” Women & Language. 34.2(2011): 9-39. Print.
Schindler Zimmerman, Toni. “Marital Equality and Satisfaction in Stay-At-Home Mothers and Stay-At-Home Fathers Families.” Contemporary Family Therapy. 22.3(2000): 337-354. Print.
Avezzano, Samantha, Lauro, Lucia, Howell, Jack, Robinson, Jah’sway, and Staranko, Shauna. “Girls with Stay-At-Home Dads Emphasize Quality Time.” The New York Amsterdam News, 8 Feb. 2007: A20. Print.
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