In 1979, a famous movie was made about custody issues faced by fathers. The movie, “Kramer vs. Kramer,” starred Dustin Hoffman and is still popular today. However, the dynamics around child custody have changed. The antiquated view of fathers as lesser parents is being supplanted by a progressive view of fathers as fully enfranchised parents.
That view is growing in society. Though slow to take root in many family courts, it is increasingly embraced by fathers themselves. Fathers no longer see themselves as mere providers of money, but instead see their primary role as directly parenting their daughters and sons. That requires quantity of time, as well as quality, and for that reason, many fathers are seeking primary custody or joint custody when they no longer live with their children’s mother.
At first glance, at 8 percent as of 2011, the number of households headed by a single father may seem small. However, it is eight times the 1 percent that it was in 1960. That staggering increase means that the total has increased from 300,000 to 2.6 million. Across those same five decades, the number of households headed by single mothers has increased from the 1.9 million that it was in 1960 to 8.6 million in 2011.
Combined, the statistics show that single parenthood in general has become much more common in the past fifty years than it was previously. They also show that households headed by single fathers are growing at a faster rate than households by single mothers. Because of that, single parenthood has become more diverse, affecting everything from commercials about baby products to society’s whole concept about parenthood. Progressive people nationwide are welcoming this diversity, and understand that fathers as well as mothers have a holistic interest in raising their children and pursuing primary child custody.
Source: The Atlantic, “The Rise of the Single Dad,” Caroline Kitchener, accessed April. 04, 2015