It is worthwhile to shine a spotlight on another great resource for dads. I was fortunate to meet Dr. Aaron Rochlen at the At-Home Dads Convention over the weekend. He was a featured presenter at the conference discussing his extensive research on at-home-dads.
Who is Dr. Aaron Rochlen? The text from the conference program guide states he is an Associate Professor in Counseling Psycology at the University of Texas at Austin, a licensed psycologist, and a father of two children. His research has focused on men and masculinity including men’s barriers to help-seeking, men and depression, and men in non-traditional career and family roles. He has published several studies on stay-at-home fathers and their families. Basically, he is a pioneer in doing research on an area where so few have gone before.
To be frank, before attending the conference, I was vaguely familiar with his name. Now, I believe, many dads should familiarize themselves with his work. He described that at-home-dad research was important because it adds credibility to a fathers role, places faces to the increased census data, helps to de-mystify and de-stigmatize at-home-dads, generates media interest, and has relevance to this growing trend. He shared a quote that was published somewhere (I forget the source) and is still stuck in my mind: “Stay at home dads are catches, and NOT lazy asses.”
Next, Rochlen spent some time reviewing the media portrayal of at-home-dads. He mentioned that at-home-dads are still clearly a “hot topic” in the media, that the stories have improved (yet most of the segments use a similar formula), the census data thrown around is helpful to show this trend is growing…but the numbers are a bit confusing. Additionally, he said that some of the media has moved away from displaying the “feel good” story to demonstrating a concrete shift in dads becoming more involved with their kids & that the economic downturn (while overly told) has added significant visibility to At-Home-Dad experiences. Overall, Rochlen’s school of thought was that media was a positive thing to highlight the awareness of this tectonic shift in dads being more involved and handling the primary caregiver role with success. I would have to agree with him.
Lastly, what I found fascinating, is that not only does Rochlen understand that there is such a lack of research for at-home dads, but what about their wives/partners? He is currently working on new research that focuses on the wives of at-home-dads. I am looking forward to analyzing what his research uncovers. Stay tuned!