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Why are fathers seen as less competent at childcare than mothers?

On Behalf of | Jan 19, 2024 | Family Law |

Officially, Kentucky law doesn’t favor mothers or fathers when it comes to custody and parenting – but that doesn’t mean that fathers always get a fair shake.

While changes are slowly coming about, the stereotype of the “incompetent dad who can’t handle child care” tends to be deeply embedded in the national subconscious. 

What causes this? Here are three reasons this perception of fatherhood is so enduring:

Traditional gender roles emphasize the idea of women as caregivers

So-called “traditional” gender roles have cast women as nurturers and men as breadwinners. Men even face significant discrimination in occupations involving child care simply because they are seen as poorly suited to the work compared to women.

Popular culture tends to turn fatherhood into a joke

Sitcoms and movies tend to portray fathers as being out-of-touch with their children, easily overwhelmed by child care responsibilities (especially when it concerns an infant or a toddler) and unable to cope with the pressure of full-time parenthood. 

Systematic issues have not made much room for fathers

Workplaces do not, as a whole, make allowances for fathers who are the primary caregivers for their children. Fathers may struggle to find employment that involves flex-time or the generous leave they may need to take care of their children. The overall lack of good support systems for fathers has made it harder for them to break free of old stereotypes.

Even though the “incompetent father” myth has been proven false, it can still affect the outcome of a child custody case. Experienced legal guidance can help you overcome this issue in court.