Father’s Day: Dads Then … and NowJune 11, 2012
| In the past few decades, two conflicting fatherhood trends have emerged: 1.) fewer fathers live in the same home as their children and 2.) more fathers are taking active roles in child rearing and care.
Both of these trends, as reported last year by the Pew Research Center in A Tale of Two Fathers, have emerged among a growing body of data that shows the great impact fathers have on children's social and emotional development by being a part of their day-to-day care.
With Father's Day this Sunday, it's a time to take a brief look at the importance of fathers to young children and how men traditionally interact with children, compared to their female counterparts.
But first, some numbers from Pew:
Most men say that being a father is harder today than it was a generation ago - and that could be because society's expectations of them are greater now, especially with so much research showing the critical impact fathers can have in their children's lives. Not only are involved fathers a positive male role model, they are also another person for a child to play with, talk to, learn from and receive care and support from. On the Fatherhood section of the Head Start website is a Texas A&M University list for fathers on 20 reasons why they should be active parents. These include "lets your child know that you love her," "provides your child with greater financial resources" and lowers the child's chances for such things as school failure, suicide and juvenile delinquency.
Not surprisingly, fathers interact with their children in a more "rough-and-tumble" way than women. Tickle fights, wrestling and even startling kids, though, have a place in development, according to an article last year in the Wall Street Journal. The same article cited a study that said "48 percent of working fathers spend less than six hours a day with their children, compared with 31 percent of working mothers." Fathers are also less likely to be upset by temper tantrums or let children indulge in whining or temper tantrums, the article said.
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