New La Trobe findings based on national data of fathers with small children show almost a third of these men are experiencing high work-family conflict.
This tension is having a detrimental effect on their parenting, relationships with their partners and their children.
The study involved more than 2600 fathers of four-to-five year olds and is published in the Journal of Family Issues.
Lead researcher Dr Amanda Cooklin, from the Transitions to Contemporary Parenthood Program Judith Lumley Centre, said the results should be a catalyst for workplace change, with fathers currently at the mercy of the goodwill of their managers to try to work out flexible arrangements.
‘This has implications for mothers too, who must continue to do most of the unpaid work and try to find a job that fits around everyone else’s schedule.’
Among the report’s findings:
- New evidence that work stress spills over significantly into family life, affecting fathers parenting and interactions with their child
- Fathers want to be involved, but are torn when working long hours and find it hard to switch to ‘parenting’ mode
- Supportive, flexible work can bring benefits to fathers and it’s important to get the balance right
- Dads’ stress has major implications for mothers and their opportunities for finding a job while carrying the lion’s share of running the home and caring for kids
Dr Cooklin says the findings provide impetus for workplace and public policy change to extend optimal, family-friendly employment conditions to all parents, including fathers.
(Source: La Trobe University, Journal of Family Issues)