Though modern society has offered women the chance to break away from traditional gender roles, men are still often stereotyped as breadwinners and as having less involvement with childcare. Here in Colorado, this often plays out in custody proceedings where men are frequently not awarded primary custody even when they are perfectly capable of doing so and often want to care for their children. A recent study’s findings indicate that perhaps men should not be relegated to the sidelines when it comes to parental responsibilities, since they are just as proficient caregivers as women.
The study measured the brain activity of both mothers and fathers as they watched videos of themselves and their children together. Researchers discovered that mothers who are the main caretakers of their children responded more so from the emotional parts of their brains, while fathers who were not primarily involved in their children’s care had more activity in the areas of the brain that deal with mental processing. When the researchers looked at the brainwaves of fathers who were considered primary caregivers, they had more emotional responses, similar to the mothers.
The researchers say that this indicates that men’s brains will respond accordingly to the needs of their children and their role in providing for them. This aligns with studies that show that two male parents are just as qualified to raise children as heterosexual parents. Overall, it appears to demonstrate that gender is not indicative of whether one will be a loving parent.
Studies like this should serve as a reminder that during custody disputes, men should be considered equally with women as competent caregivers and can handle parental responsibilities. In any custody proceedings here in Colorado, communication between all parties involved will help secure the best outcome possible. No matter who cares for them, the children’s well-being is what is most important, and sometimes their fathers are the best ones for the job.
Source: newrepublic.com, "Study: Fathers' Brains Change When They're Primary Caregivers", Michael Brooks, July 25, 2014