Fathers are always endowed with the ability to cushion their children from any adverse situations. Extensive psychological research depicts that father’s affection and increased family involvement greatly facilitates the proper development of children’s social and emotional behaviors. But in today’s world, a father is no longer the conventional married bread earner and martinet in the family. He can be single or married; stay-at-home; gay or straight or a step-parent. Hence, modern fathers are capable of playing different roles. But, some of these roles have not yet received social acceptance. This article highlights the unrecognized contributions of those fathers who had to combat the utmost perils for caressing fatherhood.

The advent of the concept of “stay-at-home father ’’ is a stark contrast to the conventional social norms. The stay-at-home fathers have taken up the responsibility of caregiving to the family while their spouses are primarily the bread earners of the family. The cases of stay-at-home dads are increasing by leaps and bounds. These cases have increased by a whopping 50 percent in the last decade. The decision to stay home with their children can arise due to several reasons as suggested by the sociologists like their spouse’s adequate earning abilities, their own choice to serve as the primary caregiver; and a strong desire to raise their children themselves, without employing anyone else. Most of these fathers relish their duties of nurturing their children and they are quite comfortable in fulfilling all the duties which are conventionally associated with feminine behavior. But these fathers have to regularly encounter social stigma since they have dared to defy the existing social practices. They are often considered as effeminate in the patriarchal society. Some fathers are often looked down upon by the stay-at-home mothers and they face humiliation while they accompany their children to the playgrounds.

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In modern society, fighting all odds, gay men are trying their best to establish long-term, relationships similar to heterosexual couples. They have also started adopting children and have fulfilled their dreams of having a family. The research depicts that gay fathers are capable of providing an optimum homely environment which is essential for child upbringing. The researchers have also shown that, contrary to previous beliefs, homosexuals have perfect psychological functions and hence can fully provide the requisite mental support to their children. But although scientific research has dismissed any concerns that were raised against gay parenting, gay fathers constantly have to endure the penury of the existing prejudice. The cases of gay fathers getting publicly humiliated often come up in the newspaper. But such incidents are a disgrace to our modern society since no existing social norms can be superior to unfathomable fatherly love.

As we come forward to celebrate this father’s day, we must pledge to break the shackles of existing social dogmatism and embrace these unsung fathers of our society. We must pay homage to their indomitable courage and unconditional love towards their children.

Written By : Kunal Pal

Institution : Jadavpur University, India

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