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Changing perceptions of fatherhood

Some Texas fathers may be among the 52 percent who say they struggle in balancing their family life with their work life. In 2015, Pew Research Center conducted a survey that looked at fathers' attitudes about being a parent and found that while there are fewer fathers who are also the sole breadwinners compared to previous generations, fathers spend more time with their children. In 1970, in nearly half of couples with children, fathers were the main breadwinners. By 2015, that percentage had dropped to just over one-quarter. In 2015, fathers also spent almost three times as much time caring for their children weekly compared to 1965.

A majority of both fathers and mothers consider being a parent an important part of their identity at 57 percent and 58 percent respectively. Despite these figures, there is still a perception that mothers are better caregivers. More than half of respondents said that mothers were better at caring for a new baby than fathers. However, 45 percent said both parents did well.

Furthermore, while a majority of people say it is better for children to have a stay-at-home parent, 45 percent say it is better for that person to be the mother. Just over half said either parent was fine, and 1 percent said it should be the father.

This perception used to mean that fathers rarely got custody of their children in a divorce. While this is changing, fathers still may be concerned about having access to their children. However, parents might be able to work out a joint custody agreement or an agreement in which a father has significant visitation time. A father who wishes to get primary physical custody might want to discuss the best strategy for doing so with an attorney.

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