Economic Recession is Reshaping Families

From API’s Publications Team

Dad and babyAccording to an article on SeattlePI.com, “Unemployed Dads Work to Find Their Place at Home,” the economic recession-spurred unemployment rate — expected to hit double digits in the United States — could be accelerating a shift in the breadwinner/stay-at-home roles of the family.

More and more fathers, who are traditionally seen as the family breadwinner, are finding themselves out of a job and in the role of stay-at-home parent. It’s a role that many fathers seem interested in trying out, but there is a societal pressure — an expectation, built over generations, that for a man to be a man, he must provide for his family financially.

And while many mothers feel OK about trying out the stay-at-home dad role in their home, the change is creating stress for many couples. Mothers going back to work at first feel relief and then resentful of their husbands’ unemployment. Fathers staying at home at first feel excited and then emasculated. And this doesn’t include the stress of financial strain and that stay-at-home dads just do things differently than moms.

To make new roles work — which may be a necessity in today’s job environment — parents need to focus on flexibility and communication, and let go of expectations and traditions.

“Instead of having roles, let’s talk about what it takes to make the family work,” said Pepper Schwartz, a relationship expert and sociology professor at the University of Washington.

To read the entire article, go to http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/books/397127_dad23.html.

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