Religious Dads spend more time with their Children.
Afew quotes from an article in the Washington Times
A new study shows that fathers of the evangelical and Catholic faiths may be better parents than secular dads, if judged by the time they spend with their children in activities or at the dinner table...
The author of the study, reported in the Journal of Marriage and Family, said the findings contradict a stereotype that conservative Protestant fathers leave child rearing to stay-at-home wives.
"Evangelical Protestant fathers, including Southern Baptists, are very involved with their children, which I found surprising, given their tendency to embrace traditional gender attitudes," said W. Bradford Wilcox, a sociologist at the University of Virginia.
Findings were based on time spent on five kinds of one-on-one activities, such as reading or playing a game.
Evangelical fathers on average spent more hours per week with their children than other dads. They reported being at an average of 27 more family dinners a year than those with no religious affiliation.
Catholic fathers, who excelled in devotion to group activities with their children, on average spent about two hours more a week with their children than fathers of no religion....
..."Religious culture or subculture matters," said Sally Gallagher, an Oregon State University sociologist who reviewed the report. Religious belief can "make a difference in men's involvement as parents," she said.
General Social Survey findings from 1994 to 2000 tend to confirm the Wilcox report, said Tom Smith of the National Opinion Research Center (NORC), which conducts the massive annual survey.
"Overall, evangelical Protestant fathers are the most child-oriented while fathers with no religious affiliation are the least focused on children," Mr. Smith said.
While 30 percent of evangelical fathers agree that people without children "lead empty lives," that is the belief of 22 percent of Catholic fathers, 18 percent of mainline Protestant fathers and 10 percent of fathers with no religion.
At the same time, evangelical fathers are less likely to believe they "are very successful in balancing work and family."
Just 29 percent think they strike that balance. That compares with 30 percent of Catholics, 36 percent of nonreligious fathers and 42 percent of mainline Protestant churchgoers.
Accordingly, more than half of evangelical (56 percent) and Catholic (52 percent) fathers "want to spend much more time with their families," the NORC survey said....
To me, this makes perfect sense. Those with religious faith consistently have stronger family ties, at least in my experience. This isn't to say that the non-religious would not be good fathers, Its just that to those with religious faith, there is a lot more importance placed on the family. While technically, I am considered in "mainline protestantism" by being a member of the Methodist Church, I find that a large number of my attitudes and beliefs are influenced by more evangelical denominations.
I did find the comment about "traditional gender attitudes" by W. Bradford Wilcox a bit disturbing. Why do people assume that the "typical man" doesn't want to have much to do with his children? While some men do have this attitude (and some women do as well!) I find absolutely nothing inconsistent with being a stereotypical dad while being highly involved with my son. My wife and I are attempting to make arrangements for her to be able to stay home with our almost 4 month old son. She has been back at work for a bit over a month now, and As much as we love the woman who sits for him, We think it would be best if one of us were home with him. Call it an old fashioned "gender attitude" but I am currently seeking a part time job to provide the needed income for my wife to leave work.
Yes, I'd be at work, while she is at home with the kid, but nothing in that means would be ignoring my son. If anything, I'd be looking out for his best interest. Yes, I'll probably be at work and miss him some nights. But In my time away from work, I'd be able to spend almost every minute with him. As it is now, I pick him up from the sitter, and play with him about an hour and a half, and then when my better half gets in, I do all the various chores and tasks that need to be done (Preparing his bottles for the next day, washing the dirty botles, getting supper ready, and giving him a bath...) Except for his bathtime I barely get to see him after my wife gets home.
By allowng her to be at home with him during the day, All of those chores will be handled by her, and then the three of us can spend some good quality family time the second I walk in the door. Yeah, Its going to mean some sacrifices (Hello basic cable!, goodbye 500 channels!) But in the end it will be worth it. He will be able to spend more time with each of us in the long run, and I think we will all three be better off for it.