Positive Parenting Newsfeed—a Child Trends Project—is Supported by the National Science Foundation

Why Paternal Involvement Matters

ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — One out of every three kids in America lives in a home in which their biological father is not present. Many studies focus on how a mother’s involvement in her child’s life affects their brain development, but how does a dad’s involvement affect a child?

The science is in, showing that fathers may be just as essential to a child’s development as mothers. Researchers from Australia observed over 3,200 kids and their fathers as they interacted. Then the kids were given a vocabulary test. Researchers found that kids whose fathers spent more time with them had greater gains in cognitive development. The study also suggests that the type of activities fathers use to engage with their children matters. So, fathers: Try reading, playing games, or doing homework with your child. These activities allow kids to exercise their thinking and language skills, which can provide a foundation for future academic success.

On an interesting note, a father’s educational background did not impact the child’s cognitive gains. The important factor was the father’s involvement.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Milvionne Chery, News Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.

Produced by Child Trends News Service in partnership with Ivanhoe Broadcast News and funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation.

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