myth of biologically unfit father

Myth of the Biologically Unfit Father

Dear Mr. Dad: While I appreciate your column and your attempts to get dads more involved, the simple fact is that women are biologically better suited than men to be parents. Your response?

A: Sorry, but you’re dead wrong.

Margaret Mead once said that fathers are a biological necessity, but a social accident. And throughout much of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries our culture tried very hard to make that view a reality. Socialized into being the family breadwinner, “traditional” fathers provided a strong moral and material support for their families, meted out discipline for their children, but did little else. They paced the waiting room during childbirth, rarely, if ever, changed a diaper or warmed a bottle, and generally steered clear of the nursery, leaving the responsibility for child rearing almost entirely to their wives.

The view of fathers as “accidental” was shared by those who studied parenthood and child development. Sigmund Freud, for example, who had a major influence in shaping the 20th century’s cultural views of parenting, believed that since mothers usually fed and cared for babies, they were biologically better suited to be parents and they would exert more influence over their children than fathers would.

Read the rest of this story on Armin’s blog.

Photo by Caroline Hernandez on Unsplash

Armin Brott

View posts by Armin Brott
Armin Brott is the proud father of three, a former U.S. Marine, a best-selling author, radio host, speaker, and one of the country’s leading experts on fatherhood. He writes frequently about fatherhood, families, and men's health. Read more about Armin or visit his website, You can also connect via social media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest,  and Linkedin.

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