Are dads’ essential DIY skills in decline? According to new research, millennial dads are less capable than their own dads when it comes to everyday DIY fixes, preferring to rely on professional help instead.
A new poll of 1,000 millennial dads and 1,000 baby boomer dads found that when a DIY task needs to be done at home, more than half of millennials prefer to call a professional.
And when it comes to emergency ‘handiness’ scenarios, millennial dads fall short in almost every category.
Millennial dads are less likely than their boomer counterparts to be able to change a car tire on the side of the road, unblock a toilet or sink, reset a tripped circuit breaker or even open a stuck pickle jar with their hands.
The new survey, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Alarm.com, found that modern dads’ toolkits have declined too.
Many millennial dads reported not owning a cordless drill (46 percent), a stepladder (49 percent), a set of screwdrivers (38 percent) or even a hammer (32 percent) — an item owned by 93 percent of boomer dads.
Why the decline in DIY? Both generations pointed to modern technology becoming harder to fix as the top reason.
Anne Ferguson, VP of marketing at Alarm.com, said:
The technology in the average home has evolved. Hi-tech upgrades like smart home technology require professional support, especially safety and security upgrades. Even the handiest dads see the value of partnering with a professional service provider on an important project like a smart home security system.
The definition of what it means to be a ‘handy’ dad has also changed, said 79 percent of millennials. Seventy-four percent of boomers agreed with them. For example, while boomer dads have the edge when it comes to traditional DIY, 62 percent of boomer dads concede that millennial dads are better at better at tech-related tasks.
Millennial dads are also more likely than their own fathers to prioritize family time over DIY. Sixty-one percent would rather hang out with their children than spend that time on DIY, while 49 percent of millennial dads say they’ve done better than their own dad at spending quality time with their kids.
Just as dads’ roles have evolved, so has the definition of handiness. Today’s time-pressed dads are quick to master new tools like apps and mobile technology for their families’ benefit. 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.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.