How Has Fathers’ Time with Children Changed in the past 50 Years?

Fathers’ time with children has increased almost threefold in the past 50 years, according to research on American fathers age 18 to 64 with children younger than 18 living in their homes. In 1965, fathers spent an average of 2.5 hours per week with their children, and by 2011, the average weekly time spent was 7.3 hours. The 2011 research showed that fathers spent half as much time as mothers did with their children. The difference typically was not by choice — almost half of the fathers wished they could spend more time with their children, compared with about one-fourth of mothers who reported feeling the same way.

More about fatherhood trends:

  • There are more than 2 million fathers in the US raising their children without the assistance of a mother.

  • One-fourth of all fathers report spending less than one hour per day with their children.

  • About 40% of all children in divorce cases have been found to have not seen their fathers during the previous 12 months.
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Discussion Comments


@Chmander and RoyalSpyder - Both of you make some very good points. Also, as for some of the reasons why fathers are troubled, it may be because they have a lot on their plate. When their child is brought into the world, they might not know how to handle it. Some even figure that their children would be better off without them.


@Chmander - Now that you mention it, you have a very good point. That's not to say all fathers are bad though. Many of them truly care about their children, and want to see them succeed. On the other hand, there really are those who truly don't care.

Also, in relation to what you were saying, I think the main issue is that we focus so much on the negative aspects of fatherhood (such as abuse and alcohol), that we don't see the bigger picture, which is especially evident on Father's Day.


Speaking of which, is this one of the reasons why Father's Day isn't as revered as Mother's Day? It's definitely something to think about. Just my opinion, but for many years, it seems like fathers have been looked down upon a lot more than mothers. Whenever there's abandonment or abuse in the family, it always points to them.

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