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The Rise of the Hands-On Dads

"I wish so badly that I could do it all again. Being a stay-at-home dad and taking on that active role in each and every one of my children's childhoods was the most special time in my life. I am grateful to my wife for supporting our family and I encourage every dad out there to throw the traditional idea of masculinity out the door. Take your kids to school, be at appointments, have their teachers and doctors know that you are just as active in their wellbeing as their mother is. Your kids will be better for it if you are married to your children's mother your marriage will be better for it, and not only will you be a better father; you will be a better, and more empathetic person in general," said Rick Jenkinson, stay at home father of 4.

dad and young daughter playing together in black and white photo
Payton and her dad Dave Johnson

Gender roles in parenting have thankfully evolved over the years. People used to assume that the role of a father was to pack up his briefcase and head out the door as the sole provider, working to support his family. Now our typical definition of families includes single dads, two dad households, stay-at-home dads, and grandfathers raising their grandchildren. Dads are becoming more and more active on school committees and running extracurricular activities, and are taking a much more active role in their child's day-to-day wellbeing. I myself was raised by a brilliant mother who somehow never missed a sports game as she successfully climbed the corporate ladder and a stay-at-home father who spent his day making sure my siblings and I had everything we needed for school, appointments, and our after school activities, as he did the other millions of other things associated with running a household. I am very happy that there is a rise in "hands-on dads" because I think the level at which my dad was involved in my well-being as a child has greatly benefited me and my siblings not only in the moment but throughout the course of our lives.

An image of the downloadable Dad to Dad tip sheet.
Dad to Dad tip sheet

We at the Parent Alliance want to share in Jenkinson's sentiment about encouraging dads to throw that old idea of masculinity away and be there for their children both physically and mentally. That is why we sat down with dads across the state to get their best tips on how other dads can start to step into that active role. These fathers came together to bounce ideas off of each other about how they were active in their child's recovery and wellness, and how a father who wants to be more active could begin that process. Each of the dads that we spoke with is raising or has raised a child who is struggling but the struggles of their children vary greatly so the tip sheet offers a lot of different perspectives. These dads know what it's like to advocate for their children in what feels like a mom-centric world. They know what the pressures of toxic masculinity feel like and they want to help other dads feel empowered to step into that active role.

To all of the dads out there we at the Parent Alliance want to wish you a very Happy Father's Day! If you are a dad that wants help on how to become more involved reach out to our FREE and CONFIDENTIAL Family Support Partners here.


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