Fathers want to beat mothers to become ''number one parent''

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London, Jan 22 (UNI) Most fathers would hesitate to agree with it but a research claims that they intend to give a tough competition to 'mums' and become ''number one parent''.

Researcher Caroline Gatrell, said fathers were challenging mothers' ''sphere of influence'' in the home because they felt it was the one remaining area in which they could exercise authority.

Children - not money - were now the source of power struggles between the sexes, she said.

''These men want to continue with their careers but be the number one parent at home.'' said Dr Gatrell.

The phenomenon, dubbed ''Daddy Wars'', is seeing professionals who are married to equally successful women becoming far more involved in child care, it is claimed.

''They realise that jobs are not for life, relationships are often not for life, but children are for life and they want to put their investment in the right place,'' she told The Daily Telegraph.

However, she added that fathers' efforts tended not extend to helping with domestic chores such as washing clothes or packing lunchboxes.

Men saw playing with their children as more worthwhile because it ''strengthened the paternal sphere of influence'', while indirect child care tasks such as sweeping the floor were '' tedious and did not augment fathers' power'', she said.

Dr Gatrell, a lecturer at Lancaster University Management School, is publishing her research, 'Whose Child Is It Anyway? The Negotiations of Paternal Entitlements Within Marriage', next month.

It was based on interviews with 20 highly qualified, professional couples who had children under five. Seven women worked full-time, of which six were the main breadwinners within their households.

Thirteen women worked part-time. Only one father was at home full-time, while the majority worked full-time.

UNI XC ARB PK KP1622

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