In one of our recent blog posts, we discussed how child development experts found a positive correlation in the link between fathers, roughhousing, and social skills. We also discussed how father-child relationships develop a lot later than mother-child relationships. This makes sense since fathers have traditionally been known as the “breadwinners” and tend to spend more time at work than with their children. However, this seems to be changing with the current generation of fathers who are trying to hold down high corporate job titles while maintaining strong family relationships at home. This effort to find balance between fatherhood and work is known as “the daddy juggle.” The idea behind “the daddy juggle” term is nothing new. However, as the number of dual-earning couples continues to grow, men are taking advantage of workplace policies, originally designed for working mothers, so that they too can spend more time at home with their children. This is especially important for fathers who have children with special needs, since these children require more attention and supervision. Unfortunately, traditionally minded employers have been slow to recognize the role of father figures as caregivers and many question whether men have the skills to be both involved fathers and valued employees.
employers have been slow to recognize the role of father figures as caregivers and many question whether men have the skills to be both involved fathers and valued employees.
Part of the reason why this shift is happening is because more women are out-earning their male partners. Estimates show that in 2011 this was the case for 15 percent of families, as opposed to just 3.5 percent of families in 1960. Many employers still expect men to put their careers first and tend to promote those who are willing to sacrifice everything for their careers. A 2013 paper from the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management found that corporate-level workers saw active fathers as “distracted and less capable” of doing the work expected from them. This might be especially true when there is a child with special needs at home that requires additional attention and assistance. Sadly, because of this, active fathers of special needs children might wrongfully be seen as more “distracted.”
Many fathers do not want to risk losing their jobs and are afraid of reducing their workdays to be able to spend more time at home with their children. Others however, have found that it is well worth it and want to be there to act as a personal resource for their children. More and more fathers are trying to be fully involved in their children’s lives and many are finding ways to do that. Some fathers are uniting to increase paid paternity leave to three weeks instead of just one. Balancing work and life is not easy and at times it might involve turning down a promotion and other opportunities. These are sacrifices that many parents find difficult, but well worth it in the end. As our roughhousing articlestated, children learn vital social skills and life skills from their fathers that they do not learn from anyone else.
children learn vital social skills and life skills from their fathers that they do not learn from anyone else.
Even for children with special needs, time spend horse playing with their fathers can teach them positive social skills and life skills. Inspired by June 12th, 2014 Wall Street Journal article by Laura Weber, “The Daddy Juggle: Work, Life, Family and Chaos.”
The child who is ‘left behind’ most is the one who leaves school without transition readiness.
Dr. James Stanfield, Ed.D.