In June last year, Paul Raeburn's book “Are Dads Necessary? What science says about the parent we underestimate. It turns out that science says: more are needed!
Behind the provocative question of the journalist and the father of 5 children, there was a serious problem: against the backdrop of fragile marriages, more and more "guest" fathers appear. This leads to a defensive reaction from society - to underestimate the value of dads: “It's okay! Mom alone is able to raise a happy child and a full-fledged person. The author does not argue with the public position, but only cites scientists' arguments that dads are still needed.
- The impact of the father on the child begins in the prenatal period: biologist David Haig from Harvard University found that paternal and maternal genes function differently during the formation of the embryo. Paternal genes "induce" to take all the necessary resources from the mother (even to the detriment of her he alth!), Maternal genes try to protect the mother from harm by limiting the nutrition of the embryo in the womb.
- Researchers from the University of Florida found that the presence of a father affects the course of pregnancy: if the father is constantly or often near the mother, the risk of preterm birth, prematurity, underweight in the child and complications such as hypertension or anemia is reduced, - from the mother.
- Paul Raeburn talks in a book about a study of the behavior of women in labor: for example, if fathers were in the delivery room during childbirth, then women were less likely to ask for painkillers and complained less about pain, even cried less.
- It turns out that not only young mothers suffer from postpartum depression, but also some young fathers (according to statistics - one in ten). Meticulous researchers looked at families in which dads suffered from depression - and found that children in such families were 8 times more likely to have behavioral problems and 36 times more likely to communicate with peers. Scientists have suggested that depression prevented the father from establishing emotional contact with the child, which had a bad effect on the perception of the world around the baby.
- Ronald Rohner of the University of Connecticut, along with colleagues, came to the following conclusion: the feeling that the father rejects or does not love causes depression in the child, provokes aggression and delinquency, alcohol and drug abuse. It is noteworthy that in case of inattention and dislike on the part of the mother, such a pronounced effect is not observed. The scientists also noted that if the father simply does not participate in the child's life (after the divorce, he lives separately and rarely visits), then the child does not become more aggressive.
- Paul Raeburn cites the results of a study conducted among rural families with low incomes: if dads read a lot to children at an early age and talked to them, then the vocabulary of such children was significantly larger, and their horizons were wider than in those families where dads had little contact with their children. A similar study found that children in families where dads are actively involved in raising children, play with children and help in caring for them, have higher IQs.
- Psychologist Sarah Hill from Texas Christian University suggested that the early departure of the father from the family inspires the girl with the idea that the presence of a man in a woman's life is short-lived, and partners should be found as quickly as possible. Therefore, growing up, such a girl will reach puberty earlier and will be more at risk of early pregnancy. Researchers at the University of British Columbia have come to similar conclusions, stating that girls who grow up with warm and sympathetic fathers enter puberty later and are less prone to risky sexual behavior. 15 Things Every Girl's Father Should Know
Fathers and Sons: Other Research
Let's talk about other studies of father-child relationships that Paul Raeburn did not cite in the book.
- A study published in the American journal Psychological Science found that the daughters of fathers who help their wives with housework grow up to be more goal-oriented and career-oriented.
- Researchers at Brigham Young University have found that if a father is warm and loving, yet demands responsibility for his actions and rules, and gives children age-appropriate autonomy, then children are persistent and tenacious. Statistics show that the children of strict but loving fathers grow up to be successful people. Scientists don't yet know why moms are less influential in shaping children's sense of purpose, but they suggest that maybe dads are more focused on this trait, while moms teach children to be kind and grateful.
- The 2013 US National He alth Report found that girls who have good relationships with their fathers perform better in math, while boys who are strongly attached to their fathers get better grades in school and perform better in competitions.
- Jens Ludwig and Susan Meyer of Princeton University warn that if a child grows up in a family without a father, there is a high probability that he will be poor in the future.
Scientific evidence is good. However, even without them we know how important and necessary dad is in the life of every child, otherwise who…
…will come up with funny ritual dances with the baby, …crush the cockroaches while the rest of the family screams, …to check the depth of a dirty puddle “for a dare”, …teach swearing (by hitting a chair leg), …start a pillow fight, …play football (even with girls)
…and watch horror films with growing children?