The American Academy of Pediatrics recently released a study, Fathers’ Roles in the Care and Development of Their Children: The Role of Pediatricians. While it makes sense that having both parents be involved has positive affects on children, there is an influx of science to back it up!
Dad’s are getting more involved
The recent science at our disposal is due to the change in tide from past decades. Some notable changes include:
- Between 2003 and 2012, the number of stay-at-home-dads skyrocketed from 98,000 to an 189,000
- Dads in 2011 had more than doubled the amount of time they spent on housework and childcare from 1965
- In 1 study in fathers working for Fortune 500 companies, 85% took some time off after the birth of the child, generally for 1 to 2 weeks (unpaid), and reported feeling more stressed about coordinating family-work conflicts than mothers did
Involved dads are good for child health!
- Mothers with involved fathers are more likely to receive early prenatal care and are less likely to deliver prematurely, and their newborns are less likely to suffer infant mortality.
- Parents tend have different strengths. Fathers tend to interact in more physical and stimulating activities during play time. While this doesn’t mean dads don’t hug, kiss and snuggle, it’s definitely not always about what parents do similarly, but what they do differently. This dynamic environment, having two parents that emphasize two different forms of relationships with the child, helps the child have more variety in development.
- Dads who maintain a healthy weight and physical activity can be good role models for their children to do the same, since fathers’ weights correlate with childhood obesity. And dads not only affect indirect influences on child health, but direct ones as well. For instance, vaccinating dads against pertussis can prevent an estimated 16% of cases of whooping cough in children.
- Dads also have a direct influence on the health of the mother, too. Among mothers who smoked, father involvement was associated with a smoking reduction of 36% compared with mothers whose partners were not involved. This is on top of influences on mental health, post-partum depression and more. Fathers help keep mother’s healthy, and that trickles down to their children directly as well.
So take a moment this weekend to thank you father, husband, and any father you know who helps mothers and children live a healthy life!
You can read more facts and figures on father involvement on the American Academy of Pediatrics’ website