Millennial fathers are supposedly clumsy with tools, but that may be a sign that they're pretty good parents.
According to a new survey by OnePoll, millennial dads have much worse do-it-yourself skills than their baby boomer counterparts. Many of them don't own a cordless drill (49%) or a stepladder (46%), and only 59% were willing to claim they could open a stuck pickle jar using just their hands.
Some readers characterized millennials' flawed DIY skills as a symptom of growing up in fatherless homes or of a waning need for fixer-upper expertise. As one reader commented, "Baby boomers have pathetic blacksmithing skills compared to 9th century Saxons."
But there may be another reason younger fathers are clueless about stopped furnaces and flat tires. More than half (61%) say they'd rather spend time with their children than work on a DIY project.
They're not necessarily avoiding the toolbox because they can't figure it out. They have YouTube and Google, after all. Many young fathers would just rather take their children to the park. Scoff at young, tech-savvy but tool-impaired parents all you want, they seem to say. They just have different priorities. Almost half of them (49%) say they're spending more time with their children than they did with their own fathers.
Anne Ferguson, vice president of marketing at Alarm.com, which commissioned the poll, told the New York Post that technology actually helps fathers in this aim.
"Today's time-pressed dads are quick to master new tools like apps and mobile technology for their families' benefit," Ferguson said. "They're also more likely to outsource time-consuming home maintenance to professionals who have the tools and training to get the job done right — a handy trade-off that enables today's dads to spend more time with the people they love."
- Yahoo! News: Are Dads' DIY Skills in Decline?
- K5 News: A Third of Millennial Dads Don't Own a Hammer
- The Ladders: According to a study, Millennial dads are terrible at this
- Esquire: Millennial dads are less handy around the house
Many fathers in the baby boom generation admit that millennial fathers beat them at mastering tech-related tasks. To spend time with their children, young fathers may rely on technology and be satisfied with just enough handyman skills to construct Ikea furniture, which is almost always harder than the breezy instruction diagrams suggest.
Understanding mechanics and spending time with children aren't mutually exclusive, though. If more millennial fathers want to do things themselves, they can find a solution that combines both goals. Next time their daughter's bicycle tire goes flat or their son trips the circuit breaker, they can fix the problem together.