Dads Rock: The Evidence

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Fathers have a direct, positive impact on the social, emotional, and cognitive development of their children, and this shows up in measures of educational achievement, social skills, and long-term mental health. While fathers do more paid work, and perform less childcare overall than mothers, they play a unique and complementary role in child raising.

While they play an essential role at all stages of a child’s life from infancy to adulthood, their presence seems especially influential as they grow older. A father’s closeness to his child in middle childhood and adolescence protects against loneliness and depressive symptoms, particularly in girls. Sixteen-year-old girls who are close to their fathers have better mental health at 33. Controlling for many other factors, the adolescent delinquency rate for boys is lower when they have involved fathers.

First off, a happy belated Father’s Day to my fellow dads, cool uncles, and other father figure-types out there. It isn’t just biological dads who need the shout outs; if there’s a kid in your life that you care about, then you should get your flowers as well.

Second, ever since we had our first child, I have looked forward to the current stage that both of my children are at.

I’ve never been one to see a baby and melt into a ball of baby talk and snuggles.

But I sure am down for teaching my kids how to apply the ultimate chinlock, ride a bike, catch a ball, step outside of their comfort zone, and cope with tough feelings.

I’m just glad that I found some empirical evidence to validate my unsubstantiated thoughts around fatherhood.

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