Here, professor Wilcox summarises a ‘growing body of research suggesting that men bring much more to the parenting enterprise than money’. He discusses how fathers bring unique benefits to children in the following areas:
1. The Power of Play. Fathers play differently than mothers and this form of ‘roughhouse’ play is important in developing the proper attitude towards physical activity.
2. Encouraging risk.
3. Protecting kids from threats in the larger environment.
The contributions fathers make can be seen in three areas:
1. Delinquency. ‘Boys who enjoy average and especially high-quality relationships with their fathers in an intact family are less likely to engage in delinquent behaviour’
2. Teenage pregnancy. ‘Teenage girls living with their father and enjoying at least an average-quality relationship with him are half as likely to become pregnant as teenagers, compared to girls living with a single mother, or who have a low quality relationship with their father in an intact family.
3. Depression. Children with high-quality relationship with father is ‘less than half as likely to end up depressed, compared to their peers in single-mother households, or intact homes where dad only has a low relationship with them’.
‘Great and even good-enough dads appear to make a real difference in their children’s lives’
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