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Families & Community

How we define fatherhood is changing. Here are 8 facts you should know about dads

Dad and Baby
J.K. Califf / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0
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Yesterday was Father's Day, and whether you're a biological, foster, an adoptive father, stepdad, grandfather, or father figure, we hope you had a great one.

The definition of fatherhood is changing. Dads are breaking out of the boxes of disciplinarian, breadwinner, and masculine role model.

But despite their increased involvement, many dads feel under appreciated. According to a survey of 2,200 parents by the non-profit organization Zero to Three, two-thirds of moms and dads agreed dads don't get enough credit, and 43 percent of dads feel their partner takes too much control of parenting, shutting them out.

In belated celebration of Father's Day, I thought I'd kick off the week with 8 facts about the men we call "Dad":

1. In the U.S, the number of dads increased from 60.1 million in 2000 to 70.1 million in 2012.

2. In 2012, almost 2 million single fathers were raising kids. They make up 10 percent of single parents, an increase of 60 percent in the past 10 years.

3. Stay-at-home dads were counted by the Census for the first time in 2003. Fathers represent 3.4 percent of all stay-at-home parents, and 32 percent are married to women working full time.

4. Kids with dads who are involved in their education do better at school, are more likely to graduate, and achieve higher levels of career and economic success.

5. Despite common stereotypes, most black fathers in the United States live with their child (2.3 million live with their child and 1.7 million do not). The fact that 72 percent of black children are parented by single women reflects several influences, including the following: 600,000 of the 1.5 million black men not living with their child are incarcerated, many black couples live together but do not marry, and some men have children with more than one woman.

6. Dads tend to engage children in play that is more stimulating, vigorous, and arousing. This rough-and-tumble kind of play helps kids regulate their feelings and behavior, and can encourage exploration and independence.

7. Teen boys with involved fathers have fewer behavioral problems. And teen girls have fewer psychological problems and are less likely to have sex or get pregnant as teenagers.

8. Dads’ and moms’ roles are converging. Since 1965, fathers have more than doubled time spent doing household chores, and nearly tripled time spent with children. Moms are doing more paid work outside the home.

For decades, researchers assumed that the mother-child bond was the most important one in a kid's life. But now we are increasingly realizing just how much dads matter

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