Stories from the news: Dads taking parental leave
According to an article titled "Where are the dads? Parental leave for men remains low" (March 4th 2016):
Just one in fifty Australian men takes parental leave, according to a new research paper from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development that looks at the issue across member countries. Australia's result compares with 40 per cent or more of men taking parental leave in some Nordic countries, and also Portugal.
It's important to distinguish between father or partner leave - leave a father or same-sex partner takes when a newborn arrives - with parental leave; a longer period of job-protected leave.
Fathers, or partners, who care for their kids are more likely to stay engaged in that relationship as their children grow, the OECD research shows. And children with dads who participate more in family life also have better emotional outcomes and mental health. Dads benefit too: they have greater satisfaction with their lives, and better physical and mental health. And parental leave also allows women to return to work and gain a greater measure of economic independence. In countries like Sweden, which is introducing a third year of a generous paid parental leave, two months are set aside only for dads (who are called "latte pappas").
Are you a supporter of men taking time off to be at home with their young children, or should their only stick to their traditional role of bread-winner?
I personally think it is a great thing and as it is beneficial to both the child and the father, why not. Women should not hog parenting as if they are the only ones that can do the best job, they aren’t. Nor should women assume they make the best carers of children, the best nurturers. In doing so we are denying men this wonderful experience —an experience we women think is very important, so why not make it as important for our husbands. In most incidences, we are only talking about 3 to 4 months, not a very long time, but precious to both a new dad and his children.
Will McCann took three months paid parental leave to care for his two young sons, Eddie and Leo, when his wife Mel returned to work. The time was a gift. Each morning McCann would give Eddie, then 11 months, breakfast while chatting to toddler Leo. Then they might go to the park, or for a coffee. There was no rush. None of the usual morning bedlam; juggling baby socks and nappy bags while rushing for the Williamstown train to the city, where Mr McCann works in policy at ANZ.
There is often the argument that women just do it better when it comes to caring for children. However, this study says something different — Bar Ilan University last year showed that there’s nothing inherent about women that makes them better parents. Women who are the primary caregivers develop neural pathways in their brains that make them more responsive to emotional cues in their children, but, according to the study, the same pathways developed in fathers who were the primary caregiver. It’s not about a hardwired maternal instinct, in other words. The amount of time spent alone caring for a child is what enables men and women to become instinctively great parents. (source)
What do you think? Sadly the media (and in most films) has a tendency of portraying men as hapless when it comes to caring for babies and toddlers creating an imagine that men really aren’t capable to doing the job as well as women. Of course they can when given the opportunity, sadly many aren't because too many women think it is "their department". Of the men I work with who have young children — they are all very good at caring for their children including dressing, bathing, cooking and one particular guy was great at doing his daughters hair. We need to share parenting and caring for our children, especially when they are young, dads need to active in their lives and that includes caring for the very young.
Don’t deny your husband these precious times and instead allow him to be hands one and if he can take parental leave — encourage it. And don’t treat him as if he is a child and incapable of caring for his own children on his own. He is. Plus knowing that the interaction is very beneficial for dads should give us greater reason to encourage our husbands as much time as they can give caring for their children.
I once read a blog comment by a woman who shared the care of their child ½ ½ with her husband (both parents worked part-time). They seemed to have worked it out so the child always had a parent and it sounded as if it was working wonderfully. If mum can’t be home all the time (and I am a realist on this, life isn’t perfect and it isn’t always possible and I completely understand this) then this is a wonderful and creative way of providing care. We need to think outside the box when it comes to caring for our children and whilst it is always great if mum can be full time homemaker, dad should always play a major role in caring and if mum can’t be at home, then why not dad. Or sharing if thats a possibility.