A long time ago, way back in the 1950’s, there was a cold, icy creature known as the “fifties father.” He rarely displayed affection, and he hid most of his feelings behind the newspaper. Most of the child-rearing duties were left to mom. We can kiss those days good-bye! In Western cultures there is an increasing number of men who are extremely active in all stages of raising their children. The old “fifties father” is now becoming the “nineties nanny.”
These modern “superdads”, as we call them, have to manage the tough job of raising children and supporting them financially. Men have to do this without the help of a previous role model in a past generation to model themselves after. Not having a role model makes being a superdad tougher than being a single mom. It leads to the creation of a “superdad syndrome.”
Superdad syndrome stems from the fact that boys growing up have very little practice at homemaking. Boys who play with dolls are considered weirdos while girls who play with dolls and participate in sports are trained for anything. Men can do a great job raising their children and providing basic needs, support, and love, but a man can never be a mother. A good example of this is Joel Chaken from New York City. He quit his job as an engineer to stay at home with his baby. His wife was an attorney. After a while he felt isolated at home all the time, and ne wanted to join a support group for new mothers who felt the same way. He was kicked out because he was not a mom, he was a superdad. Men need support groups of their own, for fathers.
Even though there is an increasing number of dads taking care of their children, the court system rarely gives full custody to fathers. When superdads get custody of their children, they find it very rewarding to get closer to their kids. They also feel a sense of nobility. Many people look at single fathers with greater respect than single mothers. Fathers are seen as “superheroes.” One such superhero dad is Rudy Szabo of Cleveland, Ohio. When his wife left, he quit his job as supervisor ar BEK Industries to stay at home with his two sets of young twins. He changed 72 diapers and mixed 30 bottles of formula every day, all while getting by on $500 per month. Rudy truly classifies as a superdad according to psychologist Stuart Fischoff. He says, “Superdads are men who sacrifice and structure their lives around parenting.” More and more, now numbering nearly 250,000, superdads are making these changes and sacrifices. They are learning every day and doing it all on their own.