Why the Children of Hands-On Fathers Are Better Behaved

Daily Mail (London), November 23, 2016 | Go to article overview

Why the Children of Hands-On Fathers Are Better Behaved


Byline: Rosie Taylor

CHILDREN whose fathers embrace parenthood are less likely to be troubled as they approach their teens, researchers say.

An Oxford University study has found that fathers who were emotionally committed and felt confident about parenthood in the first few months had betterbehaved children 11 years later.

The amount of time the father spent with the child or involved in domestic chores was not as significant as these two factors.

For the study, parents of more than 10,000 children from south west England answered a set of questions when their child was eight weeks and eight months old.

Researchers who carried out the study said: 'The findings suggest that it is psychological and emotional aspects of paternal involvement in a child's infancy that are most powerful in influencing later child behaviour and not the amount of time that fathers are engaged in childcare or domestic tasks.

'How new fathers see themselves as parents, how they value their role as a parent and how they adjust to this new role, rather than the amount of direct involvement in childcare in this period, appears to be associated with positive behavioural outcomes in children.'

Researchers looked at markers of fatherly involvement such as being confident with their child, forming a strong bond, feeling fulfilled and parenthood making them feel closer to their partner. They then gave fathers a score on a relative scale for three different factors: emotional response to the child; how frequently they were involved in domestic chores and childcare; and how secure they were in their role as a father.

The same families were questioned again when the child was nine and 11, but this time they were asked questions about the child's behaviour and social skills. …

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