Washington: Leaving behind  'Leave it to Beaver' as a family model has helped men become better dads, said Andrew Smiler, an assistant professor of psychology at Wake Forest University.

Studies of undergraduates have shown that men and women became more egalitarian from the 1970s through the 1990s.

“Since the 1970s, we've been raising our kids with the idea that women can do anything, including having any career they want,” according to Smiler.

Over the last 10 years, we've gotten used to seeing women as CEOs, secretary of state, and even heads of state. That shift has influenced men and their ideas about fatherhood.

“Many men have also begun to express a desire for greater connection to their fathers and, in turn, have sought to 'do' fatherhood differently for their kids,” he said.

“They don't want to be that emotionally distant dad whose conversations only last for three minutes.”

“This new generation of fathers is much more interested in being present at kids' activities and has much less focus on primarily holding the provider and disciplinarian roles.”

“At the same time, the definition of a 'good father' seems to have changed, so exactly what guys are proud of or brag about may be somewhat different, and they often have much more personal, first-hand knowledge of their children's day-to-day lives,” Smiler explained.

The shift in fathers' roles has also made becoming a stay-at-home dad more socially acceptable.

The increasing number of stay-at-home fathers, now more than 10 percent, is also possible “because there are more women in professional positions who can function as sole income providers,” Smiler added.

(Courtesy: Mid-Day.com)