A study found that positive parenting among fathers is related to traditional masculine traits such as adventurousness and competitiveness. Negative traits (for example sexism) were not linked to great parenting abilities. The men who participated in the study and who had those positive masculine traits, were also highly educated and believed that they should be actively involved in their child’s raising.
The fact that positive parenting and masculine traits are interconnected came as a surprise to the researchers of this study. They claim that those men combine the stereotypical male traits with the “new nurturing ideals” to create their father identities.
Characteristics of positive parenting
The masculine characteristics linked to positive parenting in the study are: competitive, daring, adventurous, dominant, aggressive, courageous and stands up to pressure.
A negative masculine trait that was also measured in the study, sexism, was not connected to positive parenting. Moreover, the idea that the father should be the main economic provider in the family was not related to the father’s parenting quality.
Study on couples
The study was designed to investigate how couples of two earners adapt to becoming parents. In the third semester of the females’ pregnancy, the men were asked to complete a questionnaire in which they had to rate themselves on a four-point scale on the seven masculine characteristics.
The researchers evaluated “sexism” by asking the men to say how much they agreed with feminists and their demands of men. Other questions concerned whether they thought that men or women should provide a higher source of income in the family. Their beliefs on their father role was measured by looking at their answers on statements like “the father should do child care activities like bathing, feeding, dressing the child”.
After the child was born, the researchers watched how the fathers interacted with the infant all alone and how they cooperated with the mother in their interaction with the infant.
Parenting and masculine traits
The results showed that the men who believed they should share the child care activities had better interaction with the infant, and were better at co-parenting. The results also showed that the men who were competitive, adventurous and had other stereotypical masculine traits, also had good parenting traits.
The researchers suppose that the men who used these traits to succeed in their career also made use of those traits to be successful fathers. These men were highly educated and had partners who worked as well, so this pattern may not be the same for other parents.
The results are encouraging for such families where fathers can preserve their positive masculine traits and where the negative ones do not exist.
You can read more on this study here.