On This Father’s Day, Dads More Hands-On in Parenting Their Children, Survey Shows

By Amanda Swysgood | June 17, 2012 | 7:37 AM EDT

Stuart Chaifetz plays with his son Akian Chaifetz, 10, in the backyard of their home in Cherry Hill, N.J., in April 2012. (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) – Most of fathers today (86 percent) say they are spending more time with their children than their own fathers spent with them. And 81 percent reported feeling financial pressure in their role as a father, according to a national survey by the Ad Council.

CNSNews spoke with Kenneth Braswell, the director of National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse at the Ad Council about the survey results.

“As a dad myself, I know that my role has changed slightly, and I think that it’s a trend of compensating for economic pressures and who is at home and who is sharing the workload at home, he said.

“Dads are doing more hands-on rearing of their children -- especially if you look 30-40 years ago, the paradigm of family development was the husband went to work, mom stayed at home, she took care of the kids, and dad came home and he paid the bills. That’s not the case today.”

Braswell said parenting roles are shifting, as dads not only are needed to do more parenting, but are expected to.

As for the 81 percent of fathers who said they feel financial pressure, Braswell said this is the first time fathers have been asked that question in this particular poll:

“I think that the reason that this number is so shocking to us is because we’ve never asked this question before.

In asking the question, Braswell said they received responses such as, “Absolutely, as a father I feel financial pressure because I want to be a provider to my family and so there is a pressure in trying to be a responsible father to ensure that you are holding up your financial end of the bargain...”

In announcing the Father’s Day poll results, the Ad Council pointed to U.S. Census Bureau statistics noting that some 24 million children live apart from their biological fathers. However, according to the National Center for Home Education Statistics, even when fathers do not share a home with their children, their active involvement in their lives can have a lasting positive impact.

The Ad Council’s national survey also found that 70% of today’s fathers admitted they could improve their parenting skills.

“The survey validates the trend that family dynamics are changing for the best. Amidst their challenges, in general fathers are stepping up and becoming more active than ever in the lives of their children and families, said Braswell. “As the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse, we are happy to see the national data to support this reality.”

Public Service Announcements run by the Ad Council urge men to “take time to be a dad today.”  They also direct fathers to visit www.fatherhood.gov for parenting tips, fatherhood programs and additional resources for fathers.

Since the launch of its responsible fatherhood campaign in 2008, the Ad Council says it has received more than $145 million in donated media across television, radio, outdoor, print and digital.

“Our survey showed that the vast majority of dads are looking forward to spending time with their children this Father’s Day,” said Peggy Conlon, president and CEO of the Ad Council.

The survey was conducted nationwide May 1-11, 2012. The nationally representative sample consisted of 743 fathers, ages 18 and up.