PARENTING & Research Uncovers the Distinct, Positive Impact of a Good Dad

by Bradford Wilcox, The Atlantic Monthly, 11/30/15.

How fathers contribute to their kids’ lives. Are dads dispensable? A lot of scholars and writers weighing in on fatherhood these days have come to the conclusion that they are.… There is a growing body of research suggesting that man bring much more to the parenting enterprise than money… (read their unique contributions in this The Atlantic Monthly article):

…There are at least four ways, spelled out in my new book, Gender and Parenthood: Biological and Social Scientific Perspectives (co-edited with Kathleen Kovner Kline), that today’s dads tend to make distinctive contributions to their children’s lives:

The Power of Play: “In infants and toddlers, fathers’ hallmark style of interaction is physical play that is characterized by arousal, excitement, and unpredictability,” writes psychologist Ross Parke

Encouraging risk: In their approach to childrearing, fathers are more likely to encourage their children to take risks, embrace challenges, and be independent, whereas mothers are more likely to focus on their children’s safety and emotional well-being. “[F]athers play a particularly important role in the development of children’s openness to the world,” writes psychologist Daniel Paquette. “[T]hey also tend to encourage children to take risks, while at the same time ensuring the latter’s safety and security, thus permitting children to learn to be braver in unfamiliar situations, as well as to stand up for themselves.”

Protecting his own: Fathers play an important role in protecting their children from threats in the larger environment. For instance, fathers who are engaged in their children’s lives can better monitor their children’s comings and goings, as well as the peers and adults in their children’s lives, compared to disengaged or absent fathers. Of course, mothers can do this, to an extent. But fathers, by dint of their size, strength, or aggressive public presence, appear to be more successful in keeping predators and bad peer influences away from their sons and daughters. As psychologist Rob Palkovitz notes in our book, “paternal absence has been cited by multiple scholars as the single greatest risk factor in teen pregnancy for girls.”

Dad’s discipline: Although mothers typically discipline their children more often than do fathers, dads’ disciplinary style is distinctive. In surveying the research on gender and parenthood for our book, Palkovitz observes that fathers tend to be firmer with their children, compared to mothers. Based on their extensive clinical experience, and a longitudinal study of 17 stay-at-home fathers, Kyle Pruett and psychologist Marsha Kline Pruett agree. In Partnership Parenting they write, “Fathers tend to be more willing than mothers to confront their children and enforce discipline, leaving their children with the impression that they in fact have more authority.” By contrast, mothers are more likely to reason with their children, to be flexible in disciplinary situations, and to rely on their emotional ties to a child to encourage her to behave. In their view, mothers and fathers working together as co-parents offer a diverse yet balanced approach to discipline…”

Read it on theatlantic.com

FATHERHOOD & Black Dads Spend More Time w/ Their Children Than Latino or White Dads #CDC

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “Much has been made of recent research that found 72% of African-American children are born to unwed parents (http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2013/08/22/chapter-3-demographic-economic-data-by-race/). But, research also shows (below) that Black fathers spend more time w/ their children (e.g. with homework, feeding and bathing) than white or Latino fathers. And this is true even when comparing non-coresidential fathers.”

Fathers’ Involvement With Their Children: United States, 2006–2010

by Jo Jones, Ph.D., and William D. Mosher, Ph.D., US Division of Vital Statistics

Abstract

Objective—This report measures fathers’ involvement with their children. Father involvement is measured by how often a man participated in a set of activities in the last 4 weeks with children who were living with him and with fathers in their children’s lives has been associated with a range of positive outcomes for the children.

Methods—The analyses presented in this report are based on a nationally representative sample of 10,403 men aged 15–44 years in the household population of the United States. The father-involvement measures are based on 2,200 fathers of children under age 5—1,790 who live with their children and 410 who live apart from their children, and on 3,166 fathers of children aged 5–18—2,091 who live with their children and 1,075 who live apart from their children.

Results—Statistics are presented on the frequency with which fathers took part in a set of age-specific activities in their children’s lives. Differences in percent distributions are found by whether the father lives with or apart from his children, and by his demographic characteristics. In general, fathers living with their children participated in their children’s lives to a greater degree than fathers who live apart from their children. Differences in fathers’ involvement with their children were also found by the father’s age, marital or cohabiting status, education, and Hispanic origin and race.

Read more at … http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr071.pdf

PARENTING & Growing Number of Dads Home With Kids #PewResearch

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “In your sermon this Father’s Day reach out to this increasing segment of fathers. Use these demographics to craft a Father’s Day sermon so that you will help the growing number of fathers that are serving their children as their stay-at-home caregiver. Sometimes the church assumes that the traditional family make up will persist, when actually the demographics are changing as this InfoGraphic from Pew Research demonstrates.”

Rising Number of Stay-at-Home DadsbyGRETCHEN LIVINGSTON

“The number of fathers who are at home with their children for any reason has nearly doubled since 1989, when 1.1 million were in this category.2 It reached its highest point—2.2 million—in 2010, just after the official end of the recession, which spanned from 2007 to 2009. Since that time, the number has fallen slightly, driven mainly by declines in unemployment, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.3

Read more at … http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2014/06/05/growing-number-of-dads-home-with-the-kids/