The Parenting Group, publisher of Parenting and Babytalk magazines and Parenting.com, and Edelman, the world’s largest public relations firm, will be presenting the results of two national surveys of fathers today at the annual Dad 2.0 blogger summit in Austin, TX. While the research supports the more significant role that today’s generation of fathers play in childcare and household responsibilities versus their own fathers’ generation, the surveys also identified several emerging patterns of behavior among the next generation of millennial fathers and first-time dads*:
• The majority of fathers feel that there is a societal bias against dads, but today’s generation of first-time dads feel a significantly higher level of prejudice versus fathers with older kids. 82 percent of men whose oldest child is less than 2 years old believe an anti-dad societal bias exists, compared with the average of 66 percent among all dads.
• Dads are assuming sole responsibility of several household tasks, most notably those related to feeding their families. 26 percent of dads say that they do all of the grocery shopping for their families; 22 percent say that they do all of the cooking. When asked which job most accurately describes their role in their family, 31 percent thought of themselves as a “short-order cook”. Millennial dads are also more likely than moms to buy locally-grown products, even if they cost more.
• The older their kids, the more likely dads are to share childcare responsibilities equally with their partner. 60 percent of dads with kids 13+ feel that they are teammates with their partners; but 1 in 4 first-time dads feel that their partner is the coach, and dad is just the waterboy – he does a lot of the grunt work, but she still calls the shots. Even though, compared to when they grew up, dads are buying more groceries (from 32 to 70 percent), taking care of children (from 33 to 70 percent), cooking (from 22 to 67 percent) and cleaning (from 10 to 70 percent).
• 1 in 4 dads don’t seek out parenting advice from anyone or anywhere. While the greatest number of respondents (35 percent) admitted to turning to their wives/partners for the majority of the childcare advice, 27 percent say that they don’t seek out advice – they just go with their instinct when it comes to raising kids. Only 4 percent seek advice from their own fathers.
The exception to the rule: First-time dads, who are more likely to seek outside help from their wives, family members and blogs than any other group – only 9 percent trust their own parenting instincts.
When it comes to making brand decisions, dads behave much differently – 59 percent of dads say they use 4 or more sources of information to help them make purchase decisions, compared with only 44 percent of moms.
• First-time dads are more likely than dads of older kids to share information about their family via social media, with 42 percent posting family-related status updates on a daily basis; 56 percent posting family photos at least a few times a week; and 21 percent posting videos at least a few times a week. Millennial dads are also more likely to have more online friends than millennial moms – dads report an average of 96 online friends, but moms only have 70.
“Our research with Edelman underscored a growing trend that we’ve been witnessing among men who have become fathers in the past couple of years: As today’s generation of dads takes on more responsibilities, the more attuned they are to misconceptions about their role by society at large,” said Shawn Bean, executive editor of Parenting magazine and father of two. “It’s no coincidence that 82 percent of first-time dads feel that they share childcare responsibilities evenly with their partners – yet the exact same amount feels that a societal bias against dads exists.”
“Dads’ role and voice needs to be taken seriously. Long gone are the days when dad’s primary responsibility was financial security and disciplining their children,” said Missy Maher, Edelman’s Director of Mom Foresight. “Dads today demand work-life balance and play a larger role at home by choice. In fact, more than 50 percent of both moms and dads agree that moms and dads roles are defined – it’s about being a parent. Marketers in particular need to think about how dads are impacting and influencing decisions when it comes to their families and the brands they are choosing.”
*First-time dads are defined as fathers whose oldest child is under 2 years old.
The Parenting “Meet the Modern Dad” survey was fielded by Walker Communications via a series of email blasts sent out by Survey Sampling International between February 14, 2012 and February 16, 2012 to their opt-in database of men who had agreed to participate in SSI surveys. The email blast contained a link to an online survey questionnaire hosted by Walker Communications. All responses to the survey were received directly by Walker Communications and at the close of the survey on February 16, 2012, 596 completed questionnaires were received.
In partnership with Strategy One, Edelman has conducted two studies “Marketing to the Modern Family,” and “8095.” Marketing to the Modern Family is a US study that was influenced by a diverse expert panel comprised of single, working and stay-at-home moms; dads, multi-cultural and GLBT parents; and grandparents with a range of knowledge in technology, finance, pop culture and health & wellness. The study was fielded to 2,400+ members of the “Modern Family” in October 2011. 8095 is an ongoing study of Millennials (those born between 1980 and 1995), their relationship with brands, actions they take on behalf of brands and how the reverberation of those actions create new opportunities for marketers.
Edelman is the world’s largest public relations firm, with 63 offices and more than 4,200 employees worldwide, as well as affiliates in more than 30 cities. Edelman was named Advertising Age’s top-ranked PR firm of the decade in 2009 and one of its “A-List Agencies” in both 2010 and 2011; Adweek’s “2011 PR Agency of the Year;” PRWeek’s “2011 Large PR Agency of the Year;” and The Holmes Report’s “2011 Global Agency of the Year.” Edelman was named one of the “Best Places to Work” by Advertising Age in 2010 and among Glassdoor’s top five “2011 Best Places to Work.” Edelman owns specialty firms Blue (advertising), StrategyOne (research), Ruth (brands + experiences), DJE Science (medical education/publishing and science communications), MATTER (sports, sponsorship, and entertainment), and Edelman Consulting. Visit http://www.edelman.com for more information.
About The Parenting Group
The Parenting Group, home of the Parenting, Babytalk and Conceive brands, reaches moms over 15 million times every month through magazines, digital media, custom content, and events. TPG’s publications include: Parenting School Years, for moms with children in kindergarten through elementary school; Parenting Early Years, for moms of infants, toddlers and preschoolers; and Babytalk, for new moms and moms-to-be. TPG’s other media properties include: Conceive, for women trying to get pregnant, the Babytalk Pregnancy Planner; the Parenting.com and ConceiveOnline.com web sites; MomConnection®, a nationally-representative online research network; and a custom content unit. The Parenting Group is a division of Bonnier Corporation.
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