According to a recent study, you might want to keep your partner away from the TV. Research indicates that media messages might interfere with dad-to-be's parenting.
If you're about to have a child with a male partner, chances are you want him to be an involved dad—one who truly believes he has a monumental role in his child's life. If this is the case, you might want to encourage your man to watch fewer episodes of Family Guy—at least if recent research from the University of Michigan is any indication.
Researchers concluded that first-time expectant fathers are particularly susceptible to media massages about the nature of fatherhood.
Graduate student Patty Kuo and co-author L. Monique Ward sought out to determine whether first-time parents-to-be were likely to become influenced by media portrayals of gender and parental dynamics. According to their findings, men are more likely to internalize these media messages.
"Our findings show that within the broader social context that under-prepares men for fatherhood, men are especially vulnerable to negative media messages about fathers," Kuo said in the study's release. Kuo explained that television shows often portray men as "emotionally unavailable, bumbling and incompetent," adding that shows generally capture stereotypical gender roles.
Researchers studied survey responses from 201 participants who documented their daily viewing habits. They found that men watched more TV—over 30 hours a week on average—and perceived TV shows to be more realistic than women did.
"Although the portrayals of these men as fathers are negative, the overall portrayals of these fathers as men are attractive because they portray these men as powerful, dominant or sexually virile," the researchers wrote of the effects of shows like Family Guy, Parenthood, Modern Family and The Simpsons.
The researchers concluded that male viewers are at risk of taking in the gendered messages from these shows. They warned pregnant women to avoid relying heavily on these series as inspiration for their partners' parenting styles. "Women may not rely as much on these [TV] images for forming their beliefs about fathers' roles in families," Kuo said.
If you need a reminder, here are some of Modern Family dad Phil Dunphy's classic moments...