What Does It Mean to Be a Modern Dad?

lifestyle parenting Apr 13, 2020
What Does It Mean to Be a Modern Dad

Now that you’re a dad, have you ever stopped to think about how different the expectations and the norms are for dads today compared to previous generations? It’s like night and day, right?

Gone are the days of being a distant provider with little involvement in childcare and household duties. The classic image of a father who’s solely the breadwinner and stoic disciplinarian has made way for modern dads — dads who are practically flipping the script.

But what exactly does it mean to be a modern dad? Below, Dad University dives deep into who and what modern dads truly are.

Modern Dads Are Present

Remember back when you’d rarely catch a dad changing diapers or washing dishes? Fast forward to now, and modern dads are right there in the thick of it.

Findings back in 2016 show that modern dads spend around eight hours a week caring for their child and almost 10 hours a week doing household chores. That’s over triple the time fathers used to put in back in the sixties.

Modern dads are much more present, not only in their kids’ lives but as a family figure in general. We’re witnessing dads who embrace being team players in the everyday hustle and bustle of family life: from preparing breakfast for their kids and helping kids with schoolwork to helping with chores and being an active partner in all the ways that count.

Modern Dads Understand That It’s Not Just About Them

A modern dad is someone who understands the value of partnership and what it means to be a family. He isn’t looking to be served. Instead, he’s diving into service himself. The modern dynamic has shifted from the “dad as the boss” to “dad as the co-pilot.”

Basically, modern dads are a much more supportive, helpful, and empathetic version of the breadwinner dads in previous generations. Yes, we still mostly carry the financial responsibility of keeping our family fed and happy, but we have also taken on a much more active role in other day-to-day family responsibilities, too.

More importantly, as a modern dad, you recognize that your needs aren’t above anyone else’s, especially your partner. You know how to put yourself in their shoes and look at situations from their perspective, helping you be a more understanding and supportive partner.

Modern Dads Communicate Better

We’ve seen time and time again how fathers are stereotyped in the media as never talking about anything. But now, modern dads are resisting this stereotype. We’re no longer the guys who bottle everything up and are afraid to open up about what we think or how we feel. Instead, we start the tough conversations because we know that the only way to tackle an issue is head-on.

We communicate not just about our issues or the problems we face but also about the everyday stuff, too. Modern dads ask their kids about their day, ask their partner how they are feeling, ask for the family’s input on big decisions, and more.

More importantly, modern dads know that communication is a two-way street — so we listen. We put down our phones and give our kids or partner the space to voice their thoughts and really take in what they’re saying.

Modern Dads Are Equals With Their Partner

Fathers are said to be the “man of the house” but that doesn’t mean they are the sole decision-makers or carry all the responsibilities — at least not modern dads. Today’s fathers are 50/50 with their partners because we recognize the importance of equal partnership. We share household duties, make decisions together, and support each other in all aspects of life.

Other modern dad traits like empathy, better communication, and being present play a role in how we now treat our partners more equally. We communicate openly with our partner, taking into account their thoughts and feelings on issues that affect our family.

More importantly, our children see us as equal partners, without any stereotypes or outdated roles dictating our relationship dynamic. They see a healthier, stronger, and more balanced partnership — which sets a better example for their future relationships.

Modern Dads Care About Their Health

Maybe it’s because we have better access to care or more options for improving our lifestyle. Or maybe it’s because we’ve seen the consequences of neglecting our health in past generations. Whatever the reason, modern dads prioritize their health and well-being more.

We’re more aware of the impact our lifestyle choices have on ourselves and our loved ones. So, we take action. Modern dads are generally more health conscious — exercising regularly and watching what we eat, as well as being more mindful of our mental health.

It’s not just about our own well-being, either. As modern dads, we also strive to set an example for our children. Seeing us take better care of ourselves teaches our kids the importance of self-care and instilling better health habits.

Modern Dads Make Sure They Have Work-Life Harmony

For a modern dad, work isn’t our whole life. Yes, it’s still incredibly important but it’s no longer the number one priority. Instead, that spot goes to our family. The dads of today take work-life harmony much more seriously.

After all, we don’t want to miss out on important moments with our kids or sacrifice quality time with our partners just for the sake of work. All work and no family time often only ends with regrets. This is one contributing factor to why modern dads are more present — it’s not because we “have to” be present either but because we “want to.”

So, we look for ways and opportunities that actually let us be fathers. We do our best to thrive not just in our professional lives but also in our personal lives.

Modern Dads Want To Leave a Legacy

A modern dad isn’t solely concerned about himself — he’s thinking about his family and the people around him. This is also why modern dads want to leave a legacy, they are thinking about how to help their family, their community, or even their country.

Modern fathers care more about the people and the world in general. We’re seeing more dads who are environmentally conscious, who are involved in their communities, and who are giving back to those in need.

The mindset of leaving a legacy also plays a role in how modern dads treat their partners and kids. We want to be remembered as a positive, loving, and supportive influence in their lives even after we’re gone.

In short, being a modern dad is all about being better and continuing to do better — especially when it comes to our personal lives and family relationships.

Watch the "What Does It Mean to Be a Modern Dad?" video here:

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