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So-called “toxic masculinity” can make dads better parents

On Behalf of | Jun 16, 2021 | Father's Rights

It’s a trend to call out “toxic masculinity,” which is a term describing a set of behaviors or attitudes associated with men. Those traits are seen as negative by some, and they may have influenced child custody in the past, too. A new study contradicts those ideas and has new findings.

In fact, according to the study completed by researchers at The Ohio State University, some of those “toxic” traits are actually linked to being a better father. Certain characteristics, like being adventurous or competitive, have positive impacts on parenting, the study found.

It’s important to mention, however, that the study focused on men who were highly educated and in a dual-earning relationship. Additionally, they had some of the stereotypical traits but also believed they should be involved and nurturing in their children’s lives.

Which “toxic” traits make men better parents?

There are seven traits that were found to be linked to positive parenting through the study. These included:

  • Aggressiveness
  • Dominance
  • Adventurousness
  • Daringness
  • Competitiveness
  • Courageousness
  • Resilience (and ability to stand up to pressure)

These traits are usually seen as positive traits in parenting. However, there was one trait studied that had a negative influence: hostile sexism.

The study followed the men involved for nine months following the birth of their children. At nine months, researchers monitored how they interacted with their children and their children’s mothers. Researchers then rated the men on their positive parenting behaviors and how well they were able to co-parent with the mothers.

The researchers found, surprisingly, that the men who more closely fit the stereotype of a “real man” were rated higher in terms of having good parenting behaviors. The men who had typical masculine traits seemed more engaged with their children.

These are interesting findings, because through they had predicted that men who believed they should be nurturing would have better co-parenting relationships and positive interactions with their children, they had not predicted masculine traits would be tied to an increase in positive parenting.

This may change the way some people look at fathers, masculinity and child care. The study was limited to highly-educated, dual-earning households, but it still makes a great argument that even those with masculine traits can be excellent parents.

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