Innovative research focuses on family role of overlooked dads

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Psychologists often focus on role of mothers in children's development. Writer Paul Raeburn asks: when it comes to raising children, what does dad have to do with it?

Dads are not just a second-income in a family, he says, but their role in children's psychological development has been overlooked. Raeburn's book "Do Fathers Matter? What Science Is Telling Us About the Overlooked Parent", delves into the effects an active, present father has on his children. He found recent research that suggests that fathers' love and involvement is a crucial factor in children's well-being, particularly in his sons' and daughters' teenage years.

A father's presence during his daughter's childhood influences her sexual development, physically and psychologically, Raeburn says. Studies by Bruce J. Ellis at the University of Arizona found that when fathers had a close relationship with their daughters in the first five to seven years of life, they engaged sex at a later age and had a lower risk of teen pregnancy. Fathers' involvement teaches young girls a "reproductive strategy" early in life, explains psychologist Sarah E. Hill of Texas Christian University.

To read the rest of this June 13, 2014 PBS News article, click the link below.

More Information