If you could do some detailed academic research into fatherhood, what would you study? This was the question I was recently asked by a group of people who know much more about the subject than I do!
Give it some thought though. What would you honestly want to look at? Work life balance? Modern working trends and their impact on family life? Acceptance of stay at home dads? Whether domestic chores are split evenly between men and women? Why some fathers still refuse to take their responsibilities seriously?
I was asked to talk about this subject in a panel discussion at Oxford Brookes University. The event was called Co-creating agendas; researching Fatherhoods and it was organised by Prof Tina Miller.
Prof Miller has carried out studies into both motherhood and fatherhood and is the author of a book I’m presently reading called Making Sense of fatherhood, gender caring and work.
The audience was made up of around 50 academics and other parenting experts. The aim was to give consideration to the research presently being carried out and what subjects should be studied in future. As a stay at home dad, I was there very much as the layman and to talk about my personal experiences.
I made a number of suggestions, but my main ideas were;
• Research into stepfathers and stepsons, a group of people I think are largely invisible in society
• Research into same sex couples raising children to see if they have any particular needs not being met by society and
• Looking to the future, shared parental leave and whether men have taken it up or not and if not why.
I have to say I was in frighteningly good company. The other members of the panel were Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Fatherhood David Lammy MP, Rebecca Asher, author of Shattered: Modern motherhood and the illusion of equality, Adrienne Burgess, co-director of the Fatherhood Institute and Margaret O’Brien, director of the Thomas Coram Research Unit.
The panel session chair was Dr Esther Dermott from Bristol University. Dr Dermott is another well-known parenting expert from the world of academia.
At some point in the near future, a recording of the session will be available so I’m not going into any further detail now. When it’s been made public, I’ll do another blog post. For now, I’m simply interested to know; what would you study? Please do leave your suggestions below.
If you are interested in finding out more, there is a hashtag for use on social media. It’s #ONEFaR, which also doubles up as the name of the network of academics following this subject.
One more thing…
I’ve written a book about my experiences as a stay at home dad! It’s called A modern father (…and dad blogger) and is available to buy now on Amazon in paperback format and Kindle format. For a limited time it’s available for 99p on Kindle and £2.75 in paperback.