Only a very small percentage of men attend the birth of their child (2.4%). The largest number of future fathers wait for the result of pregnancy at home or in the waiting room of the maternity ward. It is fully consistent with the data showing the extent to which men take leave to raise a young child. Only one in 50 men takes parental leave for raising children. However, in the situation of really high unemployment of both women and men, these data should not be interpreted as the remains of the “patriarchal reflex”, but primarily as a result of rational choice in an environment where the individual choice is increasingly less possible due to the actual narrowing of employees’ rights and generally high unemployment rates.
Younger men were more often in the waiting rooms, while older men were more often at home. Also, four-fifths of men state that they accompanied their partners to medical controls during pregnancy (some or all). The age of respondents and their willingness to go to controls is inversely proportional. Thus, almost nine-tenths of 25-30-year-old men went to controls, while the share of the oldest men who went was about seven-tenths. The younger men often went to “all” controls, while the older ones went to “some controls”.
However, this relatively slow “involvement” into a paternal role does not mean that men do not have any interest or motivation to participate in parenting. On the contrary, data show that nearly nine-tenths of men agree with the statement that they want or wanted to spend more time with their children while they are/were young. Interestingly, this desire is even stronger than their agreement with the statement that their primary role is to earn enough money for their children. As many as one-third of men would leave their jobs to take care of children, if their wives earned enough money. Four-fifths of men agree with the statement that their primary role is to earn enough money for their children. However, about half of women think the same about themselves, which confirms the continuity of the prevalent pattern of women’s employment and economic independence developed in the period of socialism. And yet, repatriarchalisation is also present, and women more often than men declare that they would stay at home and would not work if their husband earned enough.
Although the tendency to spend time with children is very pronounced, it is even more pronounced in younger men and women. It is interesting that even more 25-30-year-old men than women agree with this statement, which confirms that gender identities are somehow evolving not only towards mutual approximation, but also towards some kind of complementarity, even reciprocity, which establishes different priorities for women and men.
As far as education is concerned, women with the lowest level of education state that they would like to spend more time with their children more rarely than women with the highest level of education. These differences are the logical consequence of the different types of occupation that are related to education, and also of different motivations. The lower level of education is most often associated with the jobs performed exclusively because of economic necessity rather than the need for self-actualisation. In the case of men, these differences in education are not pronounced to that extent, precisely because the “primary role” of the so-called breadwinners is not questioned, primarily at the level of consciousness or attitudes.
Most often, both parents are jointly engaged in various child-related activities, which is consistent with some previous studies (Gender Barometer, Blagojević Hjuson, 2013). However, there are also a lot of answers showing that women are the ones who perform a large part of activities alone or mainly. Women usually prepare meals for children, change diapers and give children a bath. The only activity that fathers perform or performed more than mothers was related to physical exercises and playing with children outdoors.
Corporal punishment of children is widely accepted in the population. Every fourth 51-60-year-old woman and every fifth man of that age disagree with the condemnation of corporal punishment of children. Two-thirds of the youngest men and over 70% of the youngest women mainly or fully agree that corporal punishment of children is unacceptable, but such a level of disapproval is generally lower in older generations. It is important to keep in mind that older generations have more concrete experience with children, including the punishing of children, than younger generations. Hence, their more positive attitude towards corporal punishment of children can also be a kind of rationalisation of their own previously applied “educational methods”.
51-60-year-old men punished their children more often, including as many as two-fifths of 51-60-year-old ones. On the other hand, 31-40-year-old women corporally punished their children most often – nearly two-fifths of them.
Overall, the increase in education in both women and men has an impact on the reduction of corporal punishment of children. Education had more influence in women than in men.