Stop That Right Now Or I’ll Tell a Pollster!

If children would just stop behaving like children, being a father would be much easier. Sesame Street Parents magazine recently conducted a reader poll that asked today’s fathers to compare their role to that of their own fathers back when they were growing up. What’s the thing respondents like least about being fathers? A plurality said it’s disciplining the little hellions for misbehavior. Asked to identify the most important things they give their kids, just 21 percent cited discipline, while 55 percent said it’s being a role model and 37 percent cited emotional support. How would their own fathers have answered that question? A majority of today’s fathers believe their fathers would have pointed to financial support (57 percent) as the most important thing they give their kids, followed by discipline (34 percent) and being a role model (24 percent). On the crucial issue of diapers, while respondents are far more likely than their own fathers to take their place at the changing table (74 percent versus 24 percent), one must wonder how the 26 percent who abstain from that chore manage to escape it. On the issue of role models, respondents don’t feel pop culture gives them one when it comes to fulfilling the responsibilities of fatherhood. Asked ‘Who in today’s popular culture do you think appears to be an ideal father?’ a majority of respondents couldn’t name one.

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