When Dad raises the children

By Laura TomassiniLex Kleren Switch to German for original article

Fatherhood has undergone a social transformation in recent generations: From the drudging dad who puts his feet up in the evening and at most reads a bedtime story, to the active part in the family who takes raising children at least as seriously as mum ─ and in some cases even more so.

Far from being a marginal phenomenon in society, they clearly show how the latter one has developed in recent years: Fathers who are consciously and committedly involved in raising children, or who even take over completely. At the latest since the introduction of paternity leave in January 2018, affectionately christened "Pappecongé" in Luxembourg, the male part of the parenting duo has also been visibly held responsible in writing and the role of the father has changed greatly. While many dads of the past only spent brief moments with their offspring and had to settle for visitation rights in the event of a divorce, nowadays men are allowed to and want to raise children, and in some cases even prefer to do so.

Although the parental leave introduced in 1998 already applied to mothers and fathers, Luxembourg's dads have only become active in raising children since the reform of the law about six years ago. 6,186 men took care of their offspring in 2021 according to the statistics of the Future Fund ─ exactly 384 more than in the year before, according to their annual report of 2020, the year in which male applicants already outnumbered their female counterparts by 14 per cent with 5,802 to 5,084 ─ among them also Luca Menichetti. At 26, the nurse became the father of a young daughter. Today, five years later, Luca knows what being a father really means: "In our fathers' generation, when the woman's water broke, the man's only role was to take her suitcase ─ which she usually still packed herself ─ into the car, drive her safely through the traffic to the hospital and then wait until the child was born. I'm there for all the important moments in my daughter's life and it's the only thing I've ever completely pulled off and would never give back."

More possibilities for fathers

A hundred thousand times Luca would get up at night to heed the call of his little one. However, he owes the fact that he is allowed to do this to modern times. "I once read the term Disney daddies in the context of break-ups, they are fathers who magically appear and usually only on weekends, do cool things with their children for a few hours and then disappear again, like a fairy", Luca says. In the past, fathers' time with their children was limited and men had to fight for their basic rights in raising children. However, the changes in the law in recent years have changed this.

Luca was also able to benefit from these and took half a year of parental leave when his daughter was six months old. "We fathers are now more involved in raising our children because the state allows us to", says the 30-year-old. But while the official course is largely set for the country's dads, there are still isolated situations in everyday life where being a dad becomes a challenge. "I had my daughter when she was a baby. But the facilities that exist in many public places have often not allowed me to properly carry out my role as a father."

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