3 generations of dads share how fatherhood has changed

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Watch Above: Sun, Jun 19 - Laurel Gregory reports on how the role of fatherhood has changed over the past three generations – Jun 19, 2016

EDMONTON – When Dave Smith first became a dad there were no car seats. The 92-year-old jokes that a lot has changed since he raised his five children in the 1950s and 60s.

Back then fathers did not go into the delivery room and they didn’t change diapers either.

“Goodness no,” Smith laughed. “Number one was to get up in the morning, have breakfast and go to work and stay at work until your work was complete.”

Smith, along with his son Mark and grandson Ryan, share a combined 100 years of fatherhood experience.

By the time Smith’s son Mark became a parent in the early 1980s, times had changed. Dads were more hands on.

“I was in the delivery room,” the younger Smith said, adding he changed diapers too.

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As the father of a two-year-old and a six-week-old, the youngest of the Smith fathers says dads now play an equal part in parenting.

“I think we have more pressure, maybe not more pressure, but an obligation to try and be more involved,” Ryan Smith said. “Especially after a mat leave when your wife goes back to work, you’re definitely even.”

The Smith trio agrees – what hasn’t changed is that it’s the little things that matter.

“Watching them grow up and succeed at little things and learning all the way through,” Mark Smith said.

“It’s just when they stand up for the first time or take the first step. Or you go to the park and he learns how to climb something,” Ryan Smith said. “You can see the joy in their face and to me it brings everything back to reality.”

The dads agree, it’s a joy that transcends generations.

With files from Laurel Gregory, Global News

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