The Stigma of the Stay-at-Home Dad

Despite the constant push for fathers to play more active roles in the lives in their children, regardless of the studies that enforce how beneficial of a role active fathers play, and over looking the important bonds that are formed when dads spend quality time with their kids- the societal perception of stay-at-home dads is… bad. Or at least, thats what men think.

In a recent survey more than 32 percent of men agreed that they felt disapproval from others for becoming stay at home fathers. The numbers were collected by the Today show after over 2,000 mothers and fathers were questioned regarding their perceptions on parenting roles. Research shows that the participation of fathers in the household has largely increased over the past decade.

“Dads are more engaged with their kids than ever before,” Dana Glazer, a New Jersey father of three and filmmaker who created the documentary “The Evolution of Dad” said, in an interview with the NBC program. “A lot of dads did not have relationships with their own fathers and don’t want that to happen with their own kids.”

Studies support the idea of active fathers and according to Kyle Pruett, a parenting expert at the Yale School of Medicine and author of “Fatherneed: Why Father Care Is as Essential as Mother Care for Your Child,” children growing up in today’s generation support it too. They “expect” fathers to be involved in their lives Pruett told the Today show.

This week the White House held the first ever summit on working dads. The focus of the summit was based on the need to create more work-life balance for working fathers and also, to work towards eliminating the stigma surrounding fathers who want to be more involved. Doyin Richards, who blogs at, told NPR on Wednesday that part of eliminating this negative stigma deals with increasing society’s expectations of what a father’s role should be. He argues that active fathers should be seen as the norm.

51 percent of dads believe that they can “have it all.”

“I want it to be a discussion about modern fatherhood where its ok and expected for men to behave the way I’m behaving as far as caring for their kids,” said Richards. “Its not unusual.”

Fatherhood is a tough job. Throw in a busy schedule and its not hard to see why being a dad can sometimes feel a lot like work. But fatherhood doesn’t necessarily require having all of the right answers. Some days, being a good dad is as simple as sparing a little time to talk with your kids.