Dads and in general males who intend to stay more at home to take care of their children and in general the domestic environment still face great social prejudices according to a statement published on the website of the magazine Psychology Today. The article, written by researchers Damien W. Riggs and Sarah C. Hunter, presents among other things their new book Men Caregiving and the Media: The Dad Dilemma.
Very often men are at home not by choice but because they are unemployed, other times the choice is driven by the fact that the partner earns a higher income and may be generally less likely to be absent from work. Other times, as the researchers themselves point out, the man chooses to stay at home simply because he wants to be a primary breeder for his children.
In any case, whatever the reason, these men face real challenges in terms of social prejudice. Very often they feel isolated in those contexts in which one of the parents has to appear, for example at a school meeting, contexts in which almost always the mother is present. This psychological isolation, dictated by the same prejudices, can then make some of them feel inadequate and begin to wonder why they are at home taking care of their children instead of working. In general, these men continue to feel compelled to submit to real masculinity regulations.
Solutions for these people can be union with groups of other men who provide the same type of primary care: this can make them feel less alone. Increasing media representations of such men providing primary care for their children instead of the mother can also help. However, these media approaches are quite weak and the tension between the idea of masculinity and the role these men may play in their family is still very much present.
For example, many of these men are often forced to give real justifications as to why they stay at home, unlike mothers for whom this seems “normal”. A sort of process of normalisation of “homemade” men must therefore be put in place: precisely to achieve this, one must avoid judging, even praising or praising, these people and new strategies must be developed to involve men as parents.