Pandemic Parenting: Experts say Covid-19 reshaped fatherhood in America

Updated: Jun. 20, 2021 at 10:47 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -Parenting in the Covid-19 pandemic has reshaped fatherhood in America.

A recent University of Utah study shows 45 percent of American fathers are now spending more time at home with the kids.

Experts said the pandemic impacted many fathers in both positive and negative ways.

Despite the challenges, a Middleton man said being a dad is still the greatest gift.

“Without a doubt, having my first kid really just changed everything and put everything into perspective, Tim Casias, Middleton dad said. “It really showed that I need to focus less on my job.”

Casias is on the frontlines of fatherhood. He said learning the ropes of being a dad the second time around brought new challenges.

8-month-old Liam was born in the middle of the pandemic.

“Childcare was a huge issue. I have a very taxing job and so does my wife so we needed the daycare to be open,” he said.

Casias wanted to help new dads navigate the world of fatherhood. He coaches a UW-Health interactive bootcamp for new dads hoping to give frazzled fathers some relief.

“It’s really good to go and connect with people through that and be a moderator so I’m really glad they brought me in,” Casias said.

Parenting experts said fatherhood is already a challenge, but Covid added an extra layer of stress.

“Both moms and dads are feeling like the pandemic really disrupted the way they wanted to do things. Some of the things that they wanted to do together, they had to do separately,” Tova Walsh, UW-Madison School of Social Work assistant professor said.

She said non-custodial fathers also had a hard time during the pandemic.

“Parents had to navigate co-parenting through a pandemic and work out figuring out what reasonable risks are. What are people’s comfort level?” she said.

Walsh said if Covid had a negative impact on fathering, it’s important to do your best to make up for lost time.

“Be aware and be intentional about restoring relationships,” she said.

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