Think it’s tough being a single dad now? Feel alone sometime? Wonder why there aren’t more resources to help?
Imagine what it would have been like 50 years ago. Then, few would have imagined a dad being the primary caretaker of a kid. Even many married dads didn’t take an active role in raising the kids, particularly infants.
Parenting at that time “meant almost exclusively ‘mothering,’ ” according to a recent article in Time.
The story was on the 65th anniversary of Dr. Benjamin Spock’s groundbreaking book Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care. I’ve heard of Spock for years and knew he was an influential voice in child rearing. But I really had no idea of his views – or how radical they were considered.
“He embraced an increased role for fathers and adopted a more gender-neutral tone, expunging sexual stereotypes from the book,” the Time article says.
As single fathers, we can be grateful for people like Spock who early on spread the view that dads were critical to a child’s proper upbringing.
American Baby magazine recently excerpted some of Spock’s words from his landmark book. He died in 1998.
“In child care, fathers can certainly give bottles, feed solid foods, change diapers … select clothes, wipe away tears, blow noses, bathe, put to bed, read stories, fix toys, break up quarrels, help with questions about homework, explain rules, and assign duties,” Spock wrote. “Children will profit from experiencing a variety of styles of leadership and control by both parents – styles that neither exclude nor demean, but enrich and complement the other.”
Those words were powerful in 1946 – and they’re equally powerful today.
Fathers have much more societal support than decades ago. But resources, particularly for single fathers, could still be greater, which is why I created Single Dad House to encourage dads, offer advice and point them to helpful resources.