Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Single Dads in the Media Vs Single Dads in Reality


Single Dad’s in the media:
The clips above represent how television shows depict two different types of single dads. In the first clip it shows a Clip of the show Two and a half men, which shows how a divorced single father raises a child. Through out the show you can see how the mother feels that her ex husband is not capable enough to take care of their son on his own. This clip shows how the parents are trying to set relatively the same boundaries to benefit their son, however as you can see it is hard for parents that are spilt up to uphold the same rules. The media in this case portrays the father as a bad influence on his son. This clip does a good job depicting a typical bad guy role of the single father.
In the second clip you can see a different kind of single father in the show Full House. In this shows a father who lost his wife, so this shows how this father as to play the role of both father and mother. In this clip we see the children’s reaction to losing a grandparent. Danny the father tries to comfort is daughter, but isn’t able to really see her pain. The T.V show may have done this to show that he isn’t able to connect with his young daughter on such a personal level, like a mother would. We also see Michelle’s older sister try and step up and act like a mother, but the truth is that she isn’t able to really help her younger sister because she like her younger sister, she is still a child too. In the third clip we see Michelle’s uncle Jesse who lives with her, and is also consider a role model in the family step up and help Michelle cope with this lost. The media portrays Danny Tanner the father as someone who isn’t able to help his daughters with all their problems, but they are able to handle them with the help of other family members. This is a very interesting view of how the show can be view. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Do you feel like these T.V shows depict single fathers in a negative or positive light? Please explain?

Single fathers in Reality:
Through research I have found single dads in reality are becoming more and more common. In 1970 single fathers were 10% of single parents; by 2003 they were 18%, increasing their numbers from less than 400,000 in 1970 to 2.3 million in 2003 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2006). These numbers are astonishing compared to when being a single dad was unheard of.  However single mothers are dominating the world of single parenthood. There are many different theories as to way that is. According to Downey and Powell (1993) they used reports from eighth graders with single fathers… and found no difference between single fathers and single mothers in adolescents repots of parental trust, clarity of expectations, frequency of rule setting, or frequency of talks about school. However they did find that single mothers were more likely to know children’s friends, and their friend’s parents. On the other hand Hawkins had a conversation with 7th graders about their single parents and found out that 475 of adolescents reported talking with their single mother about personal problems in the past month, compared to 38% for single fathers and 17% for married fathers. This information goes along with the idea of children speaking on a personal level with their mothers at a younger age, but at an older age the children are more likely to spend time with their fathers. Hook and Satvika 2008 also believe that a causing factor is “ Single fathers may spend les time with their children than do single mothers because children spend more time away from the home visiting their mothers than their fathers.” This is interesting to think about. Do you think that this is an accurate fact? If anyone has an experience either a personally or maybe one through a friend of a single father that either goes along with these theories, or goes against them if you feel comfortable sharing I think it would be interesting to see if they correlate with any of these? Please feel free to share any thoughts you may have on this topic!!

Hawkins, D.N., Amato, P.R., & King, V. (2006). Parent-adolescent involvement: The relative influence of parent gender and residence. Journal of Marriage and Family, 68, 1225-136.

Hook, Jennifer L, & Satvike. Chalasani. (2008). Gendered Expectations? Reconsidering Single Fathers’ Child- Care Time. Journal of Marriage & Family, Vol. 70, pg978-990,14p.

Powell, B., & Downey, D.B. (1997). Living in single-parent households: An investigation of the same sex hypothesis. American Sociological Review, 62,521 – 539.

U.S. Census Bureau. (2006). Facts for features: Father’s day. Retrieved February 12, 2007, from www.censes.gov/ Press-Release/www/releases/archives/facts_for_features_special_editions/006794.html.


  1. The way Media portrays single parents is very interesting. They usually sterotype them to make them extrememly uncapable, or really really capable. Its funny because single parent househoulds aren't easy to describe. Their will be some problems and some things they do perfecty but you would hardly hear about it in the news.
    -I think the article mentioned above is interesting. The differences between single mother households, and father households are usually described as very different but the study shows their are slight differences and a child could have a good life living with either one.

    Lisa Rodriguez

  2. I think the topic of single parents and childhood development among single parent families/divorce is fascinating (considering i'm among the billions whom grew up within this demographic) As a child I LOVED the show FULL HOUSE, and didn't realize the actual role of father being portrayed verses reality. I drifted off into this early 90s comedy, loving how close the father was with his his little girls, yet unaware at the difference between a "show" and my situation.

    It's crucial to recognize what captures children about this show, in contrast to their personal family situation. We are being submerged into a media which is so misleading.. In retrospect I had no idea at age 5-7 the powerful messages the media was instilling in my brain, however, they did, and continue to capture millions of viewers especially targeting more vulnerable populations (ie children)

    -Lindsey Bloomberg

  3. “ Single fathers may spend less time with their children than do single mothers because children spend more time away from the home visiting their mothers than their fathers.”

    In my personal experience, this statement is very untrue. I am from a single father household and he took on the role of caregiver better than what statistics may say. I saw my mother infrequently and talked to her occasionally but my quality of growing up wasn't affected in a negative way. My father was more than capable of handling teenage girls because he grew up in a house with females and we had a strong family support system. I feel that single fathers can raise their children alone as well as a woman could and they shouldn't be looked down upon because they are "doing a woman's work".
    I understand that not all father's raise their children as my father raised me and my siblings but he showed that childcare can still excel.

    -Samantha Walters

  4. It is really interesting to watch these clips and see how the media portrays single fathers. I grew up watching Full House and did not look at the show through the perspective mentioned until now. I think the father on the show tried to help his daughters with their problems but in many episodes the show illustrates the daughters finding ways to cope with their problems with the help of other family members, and not just the father.

    -Maddie Williamson

  5. I think it's kind of sad how stereotypical that full house clip is... it's seems to suggest that since Danny is a man, he isn't as emotionally competent as a woman would be, and therefore is unable to connect with his daughter. in my family, my father is very emotional and I would go to him for help grieving before I would go to my mom. It isn't fair that the gender role and stereotype that men can't be emotional, and therefore can't deal with emotions, is something that all men are judged on. Like Sammy said, her dad was more than adequate at raising her and her siblings, and he was very attuned to emotions because of being raised by sisters. My dad had only one sister, but is just a very naturally emotional man. I have often times heard emotional called a "woman" or "gay" for expressing these emotions. Those two words are being used derogatorily to tell a man that if he has emotions and expresses them, he is less of a man. This is a terrible message to send to young boys.

    Cassidy Freed

  6. One of the things I'd like to talk about is the fact that I watch my nieces father take care of her, and I see what amazing job he does -- but I still hear the comments from my adoptive extended family talking about how she would do so much better if she was with her mother, if her mother was the single parent out of the two of them. There's still such a stigma against single fathers, which means that there's still a very strong belief that mother's innately are better at being parents. I don't know if anybody else has ever seen a first time mother, right after she's had her child, but it's similar to watching somebody look at an animal, or visit a different culture -- there's no clue of what to do.

    There is no manual for being a parent, unfortunately.

    I remember when I was a freshmen, and my niece was younger at the time so I would instantly think of her and her father when I would see fathers on the train with their daughters. Often times the daughters hair wouldn't be done quite like it would be if the mother had done it, the clothes wouldn't match as well, (the kids were more than not in sweatsuits and wearing the wrong footwear). Little things that I started to pick up.

    Observing the differences between gendered single parenthood is interesting.

  7. Its important to realize that many stats say that when you are a single parent no matter what gender you are, they say that the children could benefit from having each gender in their lives. The blog post isn't saying one single parent is better than the other, it is just showing that there clearly a suggest that through stats that single fathers are more uncommon then single mothers, but that single fathers are starting to gain a respectable standing in society.

  8. opps sorry that was haley responding to everyones comments

  9. Tsk Tsk tsk. Plagarism is wrong. If you are going to copy/paste directly from someone else's article, you should at least use quotation marks so as not to make it sound like it is your own wording. If you don't want a paragraph full of nothing but direct quotes, learn how to paraphrase and CITE your sources after each quote or paraphrase. This is basic stuff...