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Dr. Gerald Brown
Dec 06, 2016

Fatherhood in the 21st Century: Stay at Home Dads

Our society is still adapting to the idea that a father can stay at home while their wife or partner forges ahead in their respective careers.  According to a Pew Center study in 2012 there were 2 million stay at home dads.  Most of these dads decide to make the transition out of necessity (economy, lack of education, etc.) and not by choice.  However, the majority of fathers who stay at home with their children relish the time they spend teaching them, playing with them, and working on household projects together. 

  1. Hold your head up high.  Whether the decision to remain at home with your kids is out of need or personal choice it is important to reflect on how valuable your role truly is.  You have an opportunity to spend quality time with your children, reading with them, playing with them, and organizing the household projects and bills to your preference.
  2. If your children are school age you can take advantage by visiting them during their lunch, helping in their classrooms, helping with homework, and teaching them the importance of challenging gender norms and roles in society.
  3. Sit down with your partner to make a complete list of obligations so that there is little confusion about what daily responsibilities fall under your umbrella and what your partner is tasked with. 
  4. Develop a daily routine for you and your children.  Ask your child to reflect on what activities, chores, and errands they would like to help you with.  It is important to put down lunch times, nap times, and snack times for younger kids so they learn to follow a stable schedule. 
  5.  Isolation is the number one complaint for many stay-at-home parents. After all, you need more than episodes of Sesame Street or Dora the Explorer and endless rounds of peek-a-boo to get you through the day. Search for other stay at home dads (SAHDs) in your area through Can't find anyone? Create your own group! You can also connect with SAHDs across the country on websites like and Both sites have message boards and online resources so you can share and get advice with other dads.
  6. Lastly don’t forget about you.  Make sure you build some time each day just for you whether that’s watching Netflix, napping, reading, exercising, cooking, meditation etc.

I hope this information is helpful for those that are stay at home dads or thinking about becoming so.  Knowing how much I work with adolescents and teens without fathers in their lives it is a unique situation when a father remains home with his children.  The opportunity exists to begin changing the national narrative about fathers being in the home as a sign of weakness but rather viewing these fathers as critical caretakers for the next generation.  According to the National Principals Association Report Over 70% of high school dropouts come from fatherless homes so I can only imagine how this trend could be reversed with dedicated stay at home dads that truly spend quality time with their children on a daily basis.

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If you would like to learn more about me or my practice Inner Compass Counseling, Coaching, and Consulting, PLLC and have questions feel free to visit my website

Dr. Gerald Brown (Doc Brown) is owner of Inner Compass Counseling, Coaching, and Consulting PLLC in Cornelius, NC and Statesville, NC.  He is passionate about fatherhood issues, immigrant concerns, and specializes in trauma work.  Doc Brown has presented at various conferences and has a multitude of experience training organizations and corporations in diversity and multicultural resilience.  He believes in helping individuals, couples, and families find meaning and integrate that meaning with various resiliencies in order to live purposefully and vibrantly.  He is married with two daughters ages 13 and 5.  

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