Workplace Impacts a Father’s Ability to Be Engaged and Warm to His Kids: Study
Wed, April 21, 2021

Workplace Impacts a Father’s Ability to Be Engaged and Warm to His Kids: Study


Becoming a dad is probably one of the biggest events of a man’s life. The average father of today’s generation does not only want to provide for his family but to also be involved and connected to his kids’ lives. Pew Research Center shared that fathers spend an average of eight hours per week on childcare in 2016, a growth that is triple the time dads spent in 1965. This encouraged a team of researchers from Brigham Young University (BYU) to look at the impact of a workplace on a father’s ability to be engaged and warm to his kids.

Father-friendly workplaces and family connectivity

Using a national sample of 1,020 employed fathers in the US with kids ages 2 to 8 years old, the result of the study suggests that father-friendly work cultures allow fathers to be more engaged and warm parents. Each participant was asked questions concerning engagement, such as how often they engaged in activities with their kids. For instance, they were asked how often they tell stories and do certain actions, such as kissing, hugging, praising, and using affectionate nicknames for their kids.

Lead researcher Erin Holmes, who is also a professor at BYU, told Medical Xpress that fathers who are more traditional in their parenting benefit the most from having a family-friendly workplace. On the other hand, traditional fathers who are working in a workplace that does not practice flexibility were engaged only with their children a few times a month.

Flexibility in the workplace

Flexibility in the workplace enables the employees and employers to make arrangements about the working conditions that suit them. It helps employers improve the efficiency and productivity of their business while it helps employees maintain work and life balance. Workplace flexibility is an alternative to traditional workplace models that set where and when workers should perform their work.

Holmes went on to say that having a family-supportive work environment helped dads become warmer to their children, the strongest effect is observed among traditional fathers. This is why the researchers suggest that supervisors, employers, and even coworkers consider having a unique opportunity that will help fathers be more engaged with their kids. Having this kind of support system leads to a workplace environment that makes the traditional fathers feel that they want to and can be involved in their kids’ lives.



How workplaces can be more father-friendly

The authors offered some tips on how workplaces can be more father-friendly. It includes being sympathetic to the effects that the work demands on the employees’ family life, helping workers feel comfortable to bring up a family or personal issues with their supervisors, or being flexible when family members require employees to adjust their work times.

The study, which appeared in the Journal of Family Psychology, also highlights that family-supportive workplaces and flexibility particularly enable father involvement whose attitudes may otherwise be a barrier to their engagement to their kids.



Fatherhood, central to dads’ identity

The Pew Research Center likewise published that dads see parenting as extremely important to their identity. Some 46% of dads and 41% of moms surveyed said that parenting is enjoyable all of the time. Furthermore, 54% of dads and 52% of moms said parenting is rewarding all of the time.

Just like moms in modern society, many working fathers in the US alone said that work-family balance is a challenge. About 52% of the working dads said that it is very or somewhat difficult to balance work and family life compared to 60% of the mothers who share the same concern. Three in ten working dads in the US also admit that they always feel rushed compared to 37% of the mothers surveyed.

American parents see a different pressure point. Some 76% of men face a lot of pressure to support their family financially compared to 40% of women who experience the same pressure. The majority (68%) of men also face a lot of pressure to be successful in their job or career in contrast to 44% of women. Seventy-seven percent of men face pressure to be an involved parent or be physically attractive (71%).



Dual-income families

As of 2016, there has been an increase in dual-income families. It has become less common for fathers to be the sole breadwinner of the family. About 27% who live with kids younger than 18 were in families where only dads work compared to the data in 1970. During that year, 47% of couples in the US were in families where only the father is the breadwinner. Because of this, fathers were able to spend an average of eight hours per week on childcare. Dads were also able to put in nearly 10 hours a week on household chores.

In 2017, the Pew Research Center wanted to know how dads felt as they spent more time with their kids. It showed that 63% of American dads felt they are not doing enough despite spending more time with their kids. Meanwhile, the fathers who said that they spend too little time with their children believed that it is mostly because they still have work obligations to consider. About 62% of fathers said work obligations is the main reason for spending too little time with their kids, 20% said their children don’t live with them all the time, 12% said their kids are too busy with other activities, and 4% said it is due to other family or household obligations.

Dads have a huge impact on their child’s life. The more time they spend with their children, the more attuned they will be to their emerging abilities. This is why dads who spend little time with their kids often either overestimate or underestimate the development progress of their sons and daughters. Since a father’s time is precious to both him and the child, it will help enhance the child’s self-esteem. The child will grow up believing that they are worthy of the undivided attention and they will bask in that sense of importance. Companies play an important role in making finer families by promoting family-friendly policies.