Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Fathers who actively engage in raising their children can help make their offspring smarter and better behaved, according to new research from Concordia University
The long-term study examined how fathers can positively influence the development of their kids through hands-on parenting. Fathers make important contributions in the development of their children's behavior and intelligence. Compared with other children with absentee dads, kids whose fathers were active parents in early and middle childhood had fewer behavior problems and higher intellectual abilities as they grew older - even among socio-economically at-risk families. Regardless of whether fathers lived with their children, their ability to set appropriate limits and structure their children's behavior positively influenced problem-solving and decreased emotional problems, such as sadness, social withdrawal and anxiety. The study found that girls were most affected by absentee dads, although the researchers caution that paternal absence can foster other problems such as lack of support or discipline. Girls whose fathers were absent during their middle childhood had significantly higher levels of emotional problems at school than girls whose fathers were present.