How the pandemic is strengthening fathers' relationships with their kids

The pandemic is changing so many things about our everyday lives and even our identities. Researchers are finding that's especially true for dads.

"Just being able to see these guys every day and spending the day, you know, cooking them breakfast, helping them with homework if they need anything," Corey Mallory said. "It's a great experience for sure. It's tough, but like I said, it made us a lot closer."

The pandemic has made many dads re-think their priorities. Corey Mallory changed careers from construction to podcast creator to stay at home with the kids.

"Whenever I need help, he helps me with my math and my science and my reading and writing and it's really fun," Mia Mallory, Corey's daughter, said.

Now, psychologists say the pandemic could permanently restructure the typical family, meaning more dads stay home, making it more socially acceptable.

"I've tried to become a better father for it and, you know, try to better myself and better my girls as well," Kyle Fountain said. "I have a lot of respect for these stay-at-home moms and dads who do it."

After seven years in the Marine Corps, Kyle and his wife decided he would go to school and stay-at-home. Once the pandemic hit, he saw his daughters struggling with virtual learning and decided to become their full-time teacher too.

One study co-authored by researchers at the University of Texas found that couples are sharing more child care duties during the COVID-19 pandemic.

They found 56% of couples share child care duties now, compared to 45% before the pandemic.

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ABC13 asked Kyle and Corey, "If everything goes back to normal, would you give up this 'new dad role' and go back to work?"

"I just feel like I'd miss too much of their lives and I've been in it so much," Kyle said.

"Especially with the way the podcast stuff has been going on, I would much rather be here with the kids spending time. It means a lot more to the family," Corey said.

A Harvard study found that 70% of dads felt closer to their children during the pandemic.

The study found that to be true across all races, education levels and all other demographics.

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