Does Having ‘Masculine Traits’ Make You A Better Father? Here’s The Truth!

Sameer C
·4-min read

Modern day parenting is about creating an equal space for the mother and father. Several new fathers think it’s time to shun the old-school masculinity. In fact, millennials dads are equal contributors to the household.

But a new study links traditional masculinity traits to better parenting in dads. The masculine traits psychology requires characteristics like competitiveness and adventure in individuals. And people with these traits were better fathers to their infants.

The study included men from highly educated and dual-earner couples. The dads were nurturing fathers to newborns while retaining the stereotypical masculine traits.

This study led by author Sarah Schoppe-Sullivan, Ohio State University professor of psychology, was published recently in the journal Psychology of Men and Masculinities. It also stated that old-fashioned male stereotypes were linked to positive parenting behaviours and that new-age men are looking for new ways to be fathers.

These men are combining traditional aspects of masculinity with new nurturing ideals. This is creating a new identity of the father, according to Prof. Schoppe-Sullivan.

Masculinity Traits Psychology: 7 Stereotypical Characteristics

masculine traits psychology
masculine traits psychology

Image Source: Pexels

The expectant fathers were participating in a long-term study – the New Parents Project, which investigated how dual-earner couples adjust to becoming parents for the first time.

The study took place during their partner’s third trimester of pregnancy. Fathers participating in the study answered a variety of questions and rates themselves between – ‘not at all like’ to ‘very much like me’ – on a four-point scale.

It linked seven stereotypical masculinity characteristics to positive parenting. These include:

  • Competitiveness

  • Daring

  • Adventure

  • Dominance

  • Aggressiveness

  • Courage

  • Standing up to pressure

The study also concluded hostile sexism to be a negative trait with old masculinity. Participants had to respond to 11 different states related to hostile sexism. The included statements such as, “Feminists are making unreasonable demands of men.”

Dads were also asked whether men or women should provide the majority of income for the family. The responses showed that the fathers’ parenting quality was not related to who should be the primary monetary provider in the family.

The study also asked fathers to respond to statements such as, “Men should share with child care such as bathing, feeding and dressing the child.”

Monitoring Masculinity Traits In Fathers After Birth

masculine traits psychology
masculine traits psychology

Image courtesy: iStock

The long-term study further examined the father after the baby’s delivery.

Researchers watched the fathers interact with their infants by themselves and with their mother. Fathers received ratings based on their positive parenting behaviour. It also factored in how they co-parented the infant along with the mother.

Men believing in a nurturing father role had better interactions with their child and were better at co-parenting too.

More men said they fit the stereotypical definition of “real men.” Researchers found the responses surprising. But at the same time these fathers were also showing positive parenting behaviour.

The study believes that men with old-school masculinity traits are better at their careers for the same reason. That’s why they are now applying the same to get better at parenting.

Do note that the fathers in this sample size were highly educated with working professionals. So, the findings of the study may not apply to all fathers.

Learning Life Skills With Dads

masculine traits psychology
masculine traits psychology

Image Source: Pexels

The study also reminds us about Rob Kenney who recently went viral after putting out a bunch of ‘How To’ videos on his YouTube channel – Dad How Do I? The channel gained popularity recently after the how-to videos were of Kenney teaching otherwise simple tasks like wearing a neck-tie, changing a spare tyre, or learning to shave.

The videos were seen as a guidance point for children who did not have a father or did not learn on their own. Rob found his calling in isolation during the pandemic, which has made the YouTuber popular globally. It’s also been a boon for single mothers who otherwise are unaware of things traditionally taught by the father.


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