Co-parenting on the rise as dads tackle formerly 'mom jobs'

Published: Saturday, May 19 2012 11:16 a.m. MDT

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The groom, KJ Wierner, was just a 20-something professional marrying a 20-something professional. It got trickier, in their 30s, when they realized they needed to rethink their roles if their family, which then included two kids, was to thrive.

He was likely to make more money as a lawyer than she was in her profession, so they decided she'd stay home with the kids. But a decade later, they were divorced, with joint custody of their then-teenage kids.

As their roles changed and they moved apart, one thing was constant. Both were devoted to their children.

The Wall Street Journal presents their story in an essay about the changing roles of fathers. In its subhead, the article says that "though losing ground as husbands and providers, men are finding a new role — as rock-solid fathers."

The essay says that dads "now drive kids to more doctor appointments, preside over more homework assignments and chaperone more play dates." The increase in co-parenting is a fact that the U.S. Census Bureau has been tracking for some time.

"Fathers are no longer seen as just providers or occasional baby sitters, but as actively engaged in their children's emotional and daily lives, down to their routine care," Lauren Rinelli McClain, an assistant professor of sociology at Savannah State University, told the Journal for the essay.

It's a timely topic — so much so that a national conference on "Fathers and Fathering in Contemporary Contexts" is being held later this month at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md.

EMAIL: lois@desnews.com, Twitter: Loisco

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