Academic journal article Journal of Comparative Family Studies

Book Reviews -- Fathers and Families: Paternal Factors in Child Development by Henry B. Biller

Academic journal article Journal of Comparative Family Studies

Book Reviews -- Fathers and Families: Paternal Factors in Child Development by Henry B. Biller

Article excerpt

BILLER, Henry B., FATHERS AND FAMILIES: Paternal Factors in Child Development. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1993, 325pp., $59.95 hardcover.

Using a life-span, biopsychosocial perspective, Biller discusses the involvement of fathers in a variety of different areas of child development. The book consists of twelve chapters, each of which focuses on the important part fathers play in the development of children. While child development issues are addressed, Biller highlights the importance of an involved father in the development of men, women, the marital relationship, the parent-child relationships, and the family as a system. Thus, the importance of considering the interactions among all family members is advocates.

The first three chapters discuss general issues relating to the advantages of nurturant and supportive co-parenting for children, the importance of early attachments between infants, fathers, and mothers, and the cooperation that must exist between parents in order for them to be effective parents. With a focus on the unique contributions of fathers, chapters 4-6 and 8-10 review recent research of the influence of parents in various areas of child development including gender identity and self-concept; self-control and moral standards; intellectual functioning; assertiveness and independence; body image and physical fitness; and intimacy and social competency. Chapter 7 deals with educational issues, emphasizing a need for cooperation between teachers, parents, and children during the school years. The problems associated with marital disruption for children (namely a disruption in the father-child relationship) is discussed in Chapter 11 along with the issue of emotional and physical abuse of children. Chapter 12 discusses the importance of a supportive community to encourage greater paternal involvement in parenting by fathers.

A strength of this book is the interactive approach taken in understanding the relationships between parents and their children, recognizing the reciprocal influence between parents and their children. …

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