More on Father Involvement Research
Fatherhood has emerged in recent years as a central focus for understanding profound changes in family structure. Both women and men are shifting their traditional commitments to paid work and the provision of family care and in the process, are redefining the fundamental meaning of parenting.
We know that optimal father involvement in parenting takes place when a father is highly motivated, has adequate parenting skills, receives social support for his parenting, and is not undermined by work and other experiences (Lamb,2003). But fathers do not always have skills they wish they did, community parenting services and supports have difficulty reaching men, and fathers continue to be portrayed in ways that often ignore them, reduce their significance, or relegate them to the role of provider.
In spite of society's tendency to consider father involvement as a personal experience to be managed by individual fathers and their families, our approach is to treat it as an issue that should concern society as a whole. Research has found that while fathers have become more involved with their children over the last 20 years, the Canadian General Social Survey (1998) for example indicates they spend approximately two-thirds of the amount of time that mothers do in childcare (Zuzanek,2003). This gap, combined with the other research evidence highlights the consequences of non-involvement (Palkovitz,2002), not the least of which are profound implications for children's well-being, gender equity in relationships, family transformation and men's health and development.
For more information on Father Involvement Research in Canada, please visit http://www.fira.ca/