My feed

to access all these features


"You're allowed to really love your kids now, it was different back then"

110 replies

OohMavis · 24/07/2017 19:05

This is what my dad said to DH yesterday, when it was just them and our children in the house. DH was playing with our 3yo daughter and making her giggle. DH asked him what he meant and he said it was 'just different', men back then (20-30 years ago) just didn't do hands-on parenting, it was almost socially unacceptable to be seen down on the floor engaging with kids. DH said he seemed sad about that.

Do you think he's right? Is it different now? Are fathers "allowed to love their kids" now? Or is it a pretty weak excuse, actually. I had friends whose fathers were amazing, what my dad describes certainly wasn't true for everyone.

OP posts:
StealthPolarBear · 24/07/2017 19:07

I think it's maybe true of 60 or 70 years ago but I was a child 30years ago and my dad was hands on and loving.

AdalindSchade · 24/07/2017 19:11

My dad was brilliant at that sort of thing. He and mum did a lot of shared care in the early days with her working a couple of days a week and him looking after 2 small kids. He made up stories, invented crazy scenarios and was the funniest slapstick dad you could imagine. We went on massive long bike rides and walks and swimming and all sorts. He was born in 1960 but he was always quite unconventional and deliberately rebelled against his emotionally repressed family

Petalflowers · 24/07/2017 19:11

I do think men are much more hands-on nowadays. In the past, men were expected to be the bread winners, and women do all the children stuff. I don't recall my dad actively playing with me.

PaintingByNumbers · 24/07/2017 19:11

It probably varied by class, area, background, but yes that sounds accurate

DramaAlpaca · 24/07/2017 19:12

Not true of my DH. Our DC are in their 20s & he was a very hands on dad.

My own DF from 50 years ago wasn't hands on at all according to my DM.

Finola1step · 24/07/2017 19:13

My Dad was a very playful Dad, happily playing on the floor, taking us to the park, doing his bit at home after work - this was the 70s.

But back in those days, many men didn't do this, including men in my own extended family. They were much more what was called a "Man's man". Gruff, burly, no nonsense, prone to aggression etc. My Dad did not fit into this view of being a man, thank goodness. But I grew up with lots of friends whose Dads barely spoke to them, let alone played with them.

So I can see a bit of what your FIL said. Not 20 years ago but definitely 30-40 years ago.

CatsRidingRollercoasters · 24/07/2017 19:13

I think 60 plus years ago the culture was different. Eg my grandads, although very loving and devoted, wouldn't have got very involved in the hands on aspects of parenting.

30 odd years ago my dad was a very loving, hands on parent.

Mumzypopz · 24/07/2017 19:14

I think that's very much a generalisation. Many things were different back in the day, men weren't usually at the birth, not a lot of men pushed prams....but there were also a lot that did what they liked and played with their children if they wanted to. Did he play with you?

Moussemoose · 24/07/2017 19:15

My dad was unusual in the 70s because he played with us and took us places, but he was still a bit emotionally distant. My DPs DF was no where to be seen. He is bemused by his GC and doesn't understand why they get attention that he thinks he should get.

There are men of an age and generation who were denied a real relationship with their kids unless they really fought for it. So sad.

user1471462428 · 24/07/2017 19:15

My dad once got shouted for pushing my sisters pram. 1980's, fortunately he doesn't care what other people think.

mateysmum · 24/07/2017 19:16

I think you're talking 60 plus years ago, not 20 and I don't think father's loved their children any less, but they were less involved in day to day hands on care as women were less likely to work and men /women would conform to traditional gender roles. I'm in my 50's and have no doubt that my late father loved me as much as any father ever loved his child.

TheVoiceofDoom · 24/07/2017 19:17

That's quite sad but I dont think it's entirely true. My dad was cuddly and good at playing with us. He learned this from his own father was was born in 1900! (Although this does seem to have been a bit more unusual and there's always exception to the norm)

OohMavis · 24/07/2017 19:17

I'm not the eldest child, so he became a father around 40 years ago. It's interesting.

DH said he looked rather wistful. He is a much better grandad than he was a dad, which is quite common I suppose. Maybe with age comes less fucks given and less pressure.

OP posts:
MsAwesomeDragon · 24/07/2017 19:20

My dad was a very hands on dad. In fact, he was a sahd in the 80s, when it was practically unheard of for a man to stay at home while his wife went out to work.

I did have friends who barely ever saw their dads, let alone played with them though.

PanannyPanoo · 24/07/2017 19:21

My dad was incredibly hands on in the 1970's, he was the best playmate, let me teach him ballet, wash his hair with potions I created from the various bottles in the bathroom, crawled around with me on his back, was a womble at school fetes etc. He is now his grand children's favourite playmate too. I am incredibly lucky. My grandparents adored us, cuddled us, spoilt us. I can't remember them every playing with us though, other than games at xmas. Very different for my children who give him nail varnish with felt tip pens and pretty hair styles, play on the trampoline and spend hours bossing him about in their imaginative play.

TinklyLittleLaugh · 24/07/2017 19:27

Hmm, I'm 52. My Dad never played make believe toys with us or painted or anything. He played board games though. He also did a certain amout of rough and tumble with us: crawled around with us on his back, threw us around in the swimming pool that sort of thing. It was very much on his terms though; he would only do it if he felt like it, he wasn't bothered about disappointing us. Working class Welshman if it makes any difference.

My eldest DC is 23. DP has always been fully hands on with him; played with him whatever he wanted, pretty much whenever he wanted. Still runs and cycles and goes to the football with him. They are very close.

GCHQMonitoring · 24/07/2017 19:31

I'm 50. My dad was hands on, changing nappies, playing with us, organise days out; he taught us to swim, fish, ride our bikes, orienteering etc. Used to cook and iron, never saw him cleaning, but he'd do the gardening and fix the car. Was hands on as a grandad when the kids were younv

GCHQMonitoring · 24/07/2017 19:32

We're working class

MeanAger · 24/07/2017 19:34

I'm 31 and it wasn't true for my dad. He was very hands on. Moreso than my mum. She worked nights so he did all the morning stuff and weekend stuff. He was the one down on the floor doing jigsaws or monopoly or making us Halloween masks or letting us do his hair with sparkly bobbles and bows Grin

morningtoncrescent62 · 24/07/2017 19:37

Tinkly I'm a couple of years older than you, and my dad (London working class) was almost exactly as you describe. He enjoyed what he called 'roughhousing' but did it as and when he chose. He would never have done the housework-type chores associated with childcare - cooking, cleaning, changing nappies etc., but he did like taking us out to the cinema or to watch the 'new road' (M1 extension) being built!

Crumbs1 · 24/07/2017 19:38

It's twaddle. Just as now there were good fathers and less good fathers; hands on fathers and hands off fathers; fathers who educated and fathers who ignored. 'Back then, 24 years ago my husband most certainly carried little ones on his shoulders, skipped hand in hand down the street, swung them round by their arms until they were dizzy and had great fun with them. Our son's happiest memories are of Saturday 'Men's time' when they'd go off on the back of the bicycle squealing with delight at the idea of silliness and sweets.

Crumbs1 · 24/07/2017 19:39

My own father was perfectly happy to be plastered in lipstick and have his hair 'done'. He used to take us strawberry picking on the back of his motorcycle or winkle picking on a Sunday afternoon. That was a very long time ago!

MargaretTwatyer · 24/07/2017 19:41

My siblings and I were born late 70s and our Dad never changed a nappy or dressed us or bathed us or did housework although he did cook sometimes.

It was normal then. Some Dad's were more hands on and I don't really remember that was unacceptable, it was more that it was completely acceptable not to be.

Whathaveilost · 24/07/2017 19:42

My grandad who would have been 110 last month was a very hands on dad to his 3 children. My nan was a lot younger than him and she used to tell us stories of the daft games he played with my mum and her brothers.
I my dad was very hands on. My mum worked so he would have tea made and do home work with us. Dad is now nearly 80.

Dh dad was also a hands on, very much so.
By husband has been amazing. He got up and did the feeds to let me rest. Even now the boys are adults he is their supporting them at their sports events, helping them out.
My friends say im lucky. I don't think so. I kissed a few frogs but took my time picking the right guy for me.

Zaphodsotherhead · 24/07/2017 19:43

My dad was born in 1928 and was a fantastic and very hands-on dad and grandad.

Because of having done National Service, he was also great around the house, would cook, clean, iron etc, when my mother was out at work (he did shift work so was often at home looking after us while she was out).

It came as quite a shock to me when I realised that this wasn't normal, and that a lot of men of my generation expected to never have to lift a finger in the house or with the kids!

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.