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Obvious News Flash: Men Are Good at Being Dads

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It's hardly a headline for us boots-on-the-ground parents, but the big news is this: Men make good fathers.

A government study has concluded that the bumbling, checked-out, grouchy dad, who doesn't even know his kids' birth dates, is mostly a trope used by clueless TV producers. Dads these days are overwhelmingly up to the task of raising the next generation.

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Over four years, the study surveyed 4,000 fathers between the ages of 15 and 44 who were living with their partners and raising children. The men self-reported what they did with and for their kids and the time spent on these activities. What they found was that nearly all the dads, 9 out of 10, shared in the heavy lifting of bathing, diapering, helping them in the bathroom and getting them dressed. Even more of the fathers played and ate with their kids. And two of every three dads of these little ones read at least several times a week to their young kids.

The absent black or Latino dad stereotype also appears to be insignificant, so let's let that go while we're at it.

Nine out of 10 fathers who lived with kids from age 5 to 18 years old ate at least several times a week with their kids and asked them about their days. Two of three helped with homework several times a week. And half took part in the weekly schlepp to and from activities.

Involvement levels dropped if dads didn't live with their kids, but even then one in five participated in the drudge work of child-rearing. And while women are busy beating themselves up with mom guilt, 90 percent of the men in the study said, yeah, they're doing a pretty good job.

The survey also found that black and Hispanic dads might be more involved with their kids, especially with homework. But those conducting the survey said the racial differences were statistically insignificant. In any case, the absent black or Latino dad stereotype also appears to be insignificant, so let's let that go while we're at it.

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These results show an increase in parent participation for dads since a similar survey was done in 2002. The detached father, à la Don Draper, didn't come out of nowhere. Men are definitely more involved in this generation of kids' lives than in previous generations. Science says.

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