The modern father comes in many forms in contrast to the past. Nowadays, fathers are more than simple breadwinners and have overcome the role of the family’s disciplinarian. Psychological research reveals that a father who engages more with their children, shows affection and is involved in most family activities and needs can boost children’s social and emotional development.

This happens mainly because today’s norms have changed. For example, the changing economic role of women defined the updated position of the father. The percentage of working women increased to 60% from 33% in 1948 onwards. This automatically means their financial power and independence by making paternal support less needed. Additionally, there are changes in caregiving roles. In the last 20-30 years, fathers have been more involved in raising their children, and this is possible when fathers work fewer hours than their partner, or the kid is a boy, and when mothers address greater marital intimacy.

But which are the new forms of today’s fathers according to psychological associations? 

  • The non-residential fathers are mainly related to childbirths to unmarried women. Some do not recognize the child as theirs; on the contrary, some say yes. In this case, such fathers usually provide financial and emotional support to the mothers and the kids. However, there is always the high risk of becoming detached from their biological children.
  • Divorced and step-fathers. In such cases, it can be challenging to maintain the relationship with the child(ren) as before. Luckily, many of today’s legislations have been quite progressive and updated year by year, so fathers can have more custody rights and automatically spend quality time with their kids. 
  • Homosexual fathers. Heterosexual couples tend to have more and more parental rights, especially nowadays, when marriages among people of the same gender are officially established in many countries worldwide. Unfortunately, not all countries accept child adoption for gay couples; nevertheless, there is slow progress in such direction in many countries. 
  • Stay-at-home fathers. These men’s decision to stay at home and raise their children usually comes from their partner earning a fair salary, not wishing for an external caregiver to care for the kids, or even their desire to raise them.

Despite the different forms of father we analyzed here, the most crucial thing is for fathers to maintain a healthy relationship with their children, providing financial and emotional support to raise healthy and happy children.