OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign up, Login or Learn more

CAN A DAD REALLY BE A MOM? SINGLE DADS AND THEIR BABIES

Single dads need help too, but they have a harder time asking. We need to design support specifically for them.

Photo of Neesha
6 8

Written by

The 2000 census found:In 2.2 million households, fathers raise their children without a mother. That's about one household in 45. Cooking, cleaning, laundry, vaccinations, food and clothes shopping, applying Band-Aids, helping with homework, teacher relations and all the dozens of things they need to know how to do. They aren't looking to be mothers, after all they are fathers. Women have entire industries and cultural phenomena devoted to inculcating and nourishing expertise in motherhood and its subset, single motherhood. If you could conjure any single mother’s circumstances, any circumstances whatever, you could find a dozen books offering her advice and guidance, there are none for the single dad.


What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

How can we make this experience whatever the circumstance that may have caused it, be a happy one? How can we make sure they have the right advice while still allowing them to do things the father way?

How does this research relate to our use cases and personas?

The number of single father households has increased about ninefold since 1960, from less than 300,000 to more than 2.6 million in 2011(Pew Research Center). The role of fathers has evolved, they are not only breadwinners, but also caregivers. He needs to provide the same emotional support to his children as a mother would. There might be a steep learning curve to single parenting as a dad and they need to be provided the right tools to be able to do it

Tell us about yourself:

My background lies at the intersection of nutrition, obesity prevention, physical inactivity prevention, health education and public health.

Are you currently an employee of Sutter Health or UCB Pharmaceuticals?

  • No

6 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Kate Rushton

Hi Neesha!

A really interesting post! What additional resources/services do you think need to be available for single dads? How might we create a support network for single dads that don't currently have one?

Photo of Neesha

Thank you Kate! Single dads desperately need female mentors for their daughters and sons. Their daughters need the role models that only women can provide. Their sons need the relational models that only women can provide. We need community support groups for single dads, access to and a willingness to use government and social-service programs that help low-income single parents, and not to mention more online resources. Other things that could help them could be things like offering them heavily discounted prices on transportation vehicles, housing assistance etc. A dad crisis line would be awesome too.

View all comments