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Finding a balance between family and professional responsibilities in the modern age



Finding a balance between family and professional responsibilities in the modern age

For the better part of their twentiese century, the nuclear family archetype included a working father and a stay-at-home mother. This division of labor was largely influenced by cultural norms and economic needs. This model was reinforced by post-World War II economic prosperity in Western countries, which allowed single-income households to thrive.

However, the modern family structure is becoming increasingly flexible, allowing both parents to share responsibilities more fairly. These family dynamics changed in the second half of the century due to several factors, including the feminist movement, economic changes, and evolving social attitudes toward gender roles.

According to the Pew Research Center, the rising trend of stay-at-home dads is driven by several factors, including women’s advancement in education and the workforce, economic trends and the impact of the financial crisis.

The growing number of dual-income families, driven largely by women’s educational achievements, has led to more fathers taking on caregiving responsibilities. With the rise of flexible remote working arrangements, many fathers can now work from home while caring for their children, contributing to the family income. Therefore, the trend reflects a changing societal perception of traditional gender roles and family dynamics, as fathers increasingly take on a more active role in parenting and household chores.

A study published in a peer-reviewed open access The Family Journal: Counseling and Therapy for Couples and Families, explained that Philippine family culture has always placed extreme importance on the family as the most crucial social group in society. From a family systems perspective, mothers and fathers have different and interrelated roles and contributions within the family, with fathers being the sole breadwinners.

However, the traditional structure of a Filipino family has evolved due to the effects of globalization and migration, leading to a significant shift in family dynamics. The study claims that the increasing trend of labor demand has led to many mothers looking for jobs. As a result, the traditional roles of breadwinner fathers and housekeeper mothers are becoming less common, and there has been a noticeable increase in the number of stay-at-home fathers.

Fathers at work

A study published in Academy of Management Perspectives has shed light on the positive work-related outcomes that can benefit organizations when fathers take an active role in parenting. The study found that more involved fathers experience greater job satisfaction and enrichment of their work and family. They also reported less work-family conflict and were less likely to consider quitting their job.

While it may seem counterintuitive, the study also revealed that more involved fathers had lowered career identity. However, this factor was offset by the perceived management support they received, indicating that when organizations recognize and support fathers’ parenting responsibilities, they can effectively minimize the potential impact on their career identity.

The Shriver Report supports these findings and indicates that the 21stThe 20th century man prioritizes personal success within the context of the family. The report suggests that many men place more importance on fulfilling the role of a good father, husband, son or friend than on traditional markers of success such as financial independence and professional achievement. In fact, three in five men consider personal achievement at home to be the most important indicator of success, with financial success and independence following at just 24%.

The report also highlights a generational difference in attitudes, showing that younger men aged 18 to 49 are more likely to value the importance of presence in their family lives. On the other hand, older men aged 50 and over still emphasize the importance of being a provider.

Greater involvement at home

Research also consistently shows that involved fathers have a positive influence on the development of their children. In fact, a report from the US-based Institute for Research on Poverty found that positive father involvement is associated with a range of benefits for children. These include higher academic achievement, greater school readiness, stronger math and verbal skills, greater emotional security, higher self-esteem, fewer behavioral problems, and greater social competence compared to children who do not have involved fathers.

Research from the Children’s Bureau’s The Fatherhood Project has also found that when fathers are involved from the start, babies develop strong emotional bonds with them, similar to the bonds they share with their mothers.

The impact of paternal involvement extends far into the future, as children who feel emotionally connected to their fathers are twice as likely to go to college or get a stable job after high school. These children are less likely to exhibit disruptive behavior at school or exhibit less risky behavior during adolescence. Specifically, children with committed fathers are 43% more likely to get an A in school and 33% less likely to repeat a grade.

The positive influence of involved fathering is also evident in children’s behavioral outcomes, with high levels of father involvement associated with increased sociability, self-confidence and self-control. Additionally, they are 75% less likely to have a teenage birth, 80% less likely to spend time in prison, and half as likely to have multiple symptoms of depression.

Conversely, the research also indicates that father absence is linked to delayed developmental milestones from infancy through childhood and into adulthood, highlighting the lasting impact of paternal influence.

The importance of support

The traditional concept of the ‘ideal worker’, as someone who dedicates their life to their full-time job while their partner takes care of the home and children, is being challenged by the increasing involvement of men in raising children. According to Academy of Management PerspectivesThis shift runs counter to the prevailing idea of ​​the ideal worker, who is expected to prioritize work above all else.

The research indicates that men’s active participation in childcare contradicts societal expectations of masculinity, which often emphasize men’s dominance over women and traditional gender roles. Men who deviate from these norms by taking on caregiving responsibilities may face marginalization and social disapproval.

The concept of hegemonic masculinity also emphasizes traditional masculine norms, which can create barriers for men who choose to take on a caregiver role. This can lead to feelings of guilt, shame and isolation as men struggle to reconcile their masculine identity with their new responsibilities.

While some organizations are leading the way by offering flexible working hours and parental leave policies, many companies are slow to adapt to the changing dynamics of modern families. This lack of support from employers contributes to the growing conflicts men face as they try to balance their work and family responsibilities.

In response, the role of fathers is likely to become even more important for both the workplace and the family, benefiting individuals, families and society as a whole if they are given significant opportunities.

A study by Great Place to Work shows that employees who feel supported by their employers are more likely to be productive and satisfied in their roles. This support can take many forms, including flexible working arrangements, parental leave and a culture that values ​​caring responsibilities. The support therefore allows fathers to be more involved in raising their children and prioritize family responsibilities, without jeopardizing their careers. — Micole A. Moraal