On this steamy fall sunday in Minnesota, when both of us had a chance to interact with our own wonderful and loving fathers, we wanted to share the latest research on why fathers matter:
You've seen the shows: Everybody Loves Raymond, According to Jim, The Simpsons, and Home Improvement. Did you ever think about what two things these four shows have in common? They've each been a popular show in the last 10 years, and they each depict fathers as incompetent parents. In each of these shows, moms are portyrayed as the responsible, competent figure in the family, while fathers are often portrayed as an additional child--someone who hinders mothers' parenting styles. Fathers are seen as voluntary parents while mothers are seen as primary parents. What do researchers have to say about this? And how does it relate to your own family?
Research shows that fathers often see themselves as incompetent to handle the regular activities of family life (i.e. changing diapers or dealing with kids' teachers). When issues arise, fathers frequently retreat, resulting in what researchers have begun to call the "rescue phenomenon." The advice to dads: Stay involved. Stay confident. Stay connected.
Because father involvement is a key component in raising healthy, happy children. Did you know that children whose fathers are involved in school activities have improved verbal and mathematical abilities, are less likely to repeat a grade or be expelled, and earn better grades in general? And that, according to at least one study, father involvement in child care was the most important factor in children growing up to be compassionate adults? Here's the secret researchers have found: The stronger a marriage, the more involved the father.
For more on this topic take a look at the book: "Why Fathers Count," by Dr. Sean Brotherson.
We also explore this topic in our forthcoming (second in the series) book, "What Happy Couples Do (After Becoming Parents too)" (for release in August, 2008, Fairview Press)