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to expect fathers to be prepared to be the main child-carer?

(15 Posts)
Caroline1852 Wed 04-Jul-07 20:13:12

I am a 15 year old (boy!) preparing an essay for my religious education class. It is on the subject of child care. My mum thinks that you guys will be able to help me out on this topic. The essay is asking whether or not men should be the main child carer or not. So, do you think that men should at least be "prepared" to be the main child carer in the home, or do you think that men should not even have to worry about spending a day looking after their kid/s? Any views will be much appreciated.

meandmyflyingmachine Wed 04-Jul-07 20:16:13

My husband was a stay at home dad for a bit. It wasn't for him, but then it isn't for many women either.

Childcare is a joint responsibility. Either organising it or actually doing it. It depends what works for your family.

Good luck with the essay.

What do you think?

nickytwotimes Wed 04-Jul-07 20:17:23

omg, a 15 year old boy not pretending to be something else???!!!
(been a lot of trolls lately, caroline)
amongst my friends, the person who earns the least has become the primary carer. whether it's mum or dad doesn't really matter except it could make breast feeding tricky in th early days!
good luck with your project.

Anna8888 Wed 04-Jul-07 20:30:41

The issues I think need to be discussed are the following:

- whether or not it is biologically indifferent that a mother or a father be a child's primary carer - a general point on human beings

- whether or not it is culturally indifferent that a mother or a father be a child's primary carer - a point pertaining to the country/culture in which the family lives and the child is being raised

- whether or not a child's father and/or mother have strong personal feelings as to which one of them be the main child carer in their family - an issue for a couple to address individually

- whether or not it is economically viable for a particular family to lose one income and, if so, which one (usually the lower one)

Given that women are making ever greater headway in the workplace, the biological, cultural and personal arguments that have tended in the past to favour women as child carers are being superseded, for some families, by economic arguments that dictate that the lower earner become the primary child carer.

meandmyflyingmachine Wed 04-Jul-07 20:32:52

Oooh. An essay plan

gothicmama Wed 04-Jul-07 20:34:07

any parent should expect or be prepared to be the main carer for their child/ children. It really depends on the values of teh individuals who has what role within a family. I have been the main carer for dd but now dh is a stay at home dad for our 2 children because this is how it works best for our family at the moment.
So to answer your question it is not about expectation but that the responsibility of parenthood lies equally with both mother and father gender should not on it's own decide who is the main carer

Caroline1852 Wed 04-Jul-07 20:37:18

I reckon that there is no reason why a father shouldn't take a more active role as a parent, but there are obvious reasons why they shouldn't in specific circumstances. But I also think that women seem to have done a pretty good job of looking after future generations for all of history, so I don't see any reason why that should change unless the woman in question has a career they would particularily like to pursue or the father in question would like to take a more active role.

Caroline1852 Wed 04-Jul-07 20:39:55

But I agree with eveyone's points on the idea that parents should share the responsibilty, but responsibilty does not mean equal time with the child/ren in question. It could mean that the parents come to a sensible arrangement that suits the circumstances, is that right?

lulumama Wed 04-Jul-07 20:44:02

what Anna said

also, I think it is impossible to make a sweeping generalisation about this

I know one SAHD, so I would say still quite a rarity..but if it would work, financially, and emotionally, and the father and mother were in agreement, then great

cannot force someone into the role of main caregiver, or in fact, breadwinner, if they are not comfortable or confident in the role

as with all these Big Decisions, compromise and communication, and re-evaluation of circumstances is the key

good luck with your essay

Anna8888 Wed 04-Jul-07 20:44:03

Yes, but I think circumstances are changing fast .

There is a very interesting article in this week's Economist about the dearth of women in some cities and towns in former East Germany - the women either study and go West to find jobs and partners or else become single mothers. The local men are just not worth hitching themselves to.

What are men going to be for in future?

TheArmadillo Wed 04-Jul-07 20:44:18

It's not about just fitting the circumstances though. There is also what you want to aim to do.

For example my dp would like to be a stay at home dad. I would like this too. So this is part of our plans for the future. Therefore we try and arrange our life and make the choices that will allow that to happen.

Any parent should be capable of/prepared to care for their children alone for certain periods of time. What if one partner became ill or worse? They would need to.

gothicmama Wed 04-Jul-07 20:45:03

yes that's about right, it is down to the uniques circumstances of teh parents who is best placed to be the main carer and life often means it is not possible for parents to spend equal time with their children good luck with writing your essay

crunchie Wed 04-Jul-07 23:14:19

well in our family dh is the main child carer atm Our kids are now 6 and 8 and we have had various childcare arrangements. However the childcare - whether costs or just doing it - has always been DH's responsibility.

The reasons are :-
1) I earn considerably more than DH
2) DH could not earn enoughto pay teh mortgage and bills
3) Dh wants to continue to be an actor, therefore HE has to do childcare in between jobs as he is not working then
4)I would be rubbish at it

However I am still teh one who sorted out nurseries/nannies/childminders, he just pays for it when he is working and does it himself whne he is not.

Did we discuss this before the kids were born? No but it was the obvious/only solution as he doesn't work full time, I do and I had bigger earning piotential. Therefore as a family we budget sole on my earnings, his are a bonus.

berolina Wed 04-Jul-07 23:21:01

Well, my dh was the main-ish carer (about 60/40?) for quite a while, and now we share about equally. It has been great for him and great for our boy. It is hard, IME, for the mother to let go, though (i.e. I hated the situation).

JustineRoberts Wed 04-Jul-07 23:43:33

In my ideal world parents should work this out together.

But in the real world, currently the female partner has more power as to whether to proceed with a pregnancy or not. Greater rights should usually go hand in hand with greater responsibility. If a woman exerts right over contraception and the course of pregnancy, then there should be a limit as to what can be demanded from the [potentially unwilling] father. But that is the extreme. Typically each family unit should be able to decide what is best for their unique circumstances.

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