Parental transition is the process of adjusting to a new role and identity as a parent. It can be challenging, rewarding and stressful, regardless of gender. However, many workplaces still have policies and practices that favour mothers over fathers when it comes to parental leave, flexibility, and support, with many having little consideration outside of what might be called a ‘regular’ family unit. This in itself can create gender indifferences in career opportunities, satisfaction, and well-being for both parents.
But let’s talk about fathers for a moment. I feel the impact of becoming a new parent has been overlooked somewhat. This change can be profound and for some men, they find difficulty in several areas of their life, such as:
- Adjusting to the new role and responsibilities of being a father, which can involve changes in identity, expectations, and relationships.
- Balancing work and family demands, which can create stress, guilt, and conflict.
- Supporting their partner’s physical and emotional recovery from childbirth, which can require empathy, patience, and communication.
- Coping with their own mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, or isolation, which can affect their wellbeing and parenting.
- Bonding with their baby and developing a positive attachment, which can involve spending quality time, being involved in caregiving, and expressing affection.
Benefits of parental transition support for men
Having a parental transition policy that equally supports men can benefit businesses in several ways. First, it can help attract and retain talent, especially among younger generations who value work-life balance and gender equality. Second, it can foster a more diverse and inclusive culture, where different perspectives and experiences are valued and respected. Third, it can boost productivity and performance, as employees who feel supported and engaged are more likely to be motivated, creative, and loyal.
So what should a parental transition policy that equally supports men include?
Here are 4 key elements:
- Equal access to paid parental leave for both parents, regardless of their gender or marital status.
- Flexible work arrangements that allow both parents to balance their work and family responsibilities.
- Supportive programs and resources that help both parents cope with the emotional and practical aspects of becoming a parent.
- Regular communication and feedback that ensure both parents are informed and involved in their career development.
By implementing such a policy, businesses can not only benefit from these positive outcomes, but also contribute to social change and gender equality. A parental transition policy that equally supports men can help challenge the stereotypes and norms that limit both men’s and women’s choices and opportunities as parents and professionals.
If you’d like to learn more about the support we provide for organisations and individuals around Parental Transition, from helping develop a strategy, to one-to-one parental coaching (or anything else relating to People Development), visit our website or give us a call on 01491 414010.