It has been said that fathers play an important role in raising kids, and they are no longer relegated to just bringing home the bacon or be the compelling figure to discipline the child.
In this day and age when there are calls for equality in the work force in terms of paternity leaves and pushing for work-life balance (nappy changing stations are now also being made available in the men's room, by the way), dads are expected to do their part in raising emotionally- and mentally-healthy children (yes, dads, you are perfectly capable of these things). Plus, moms do need the extra hands ... and some me-time.
Having dad around reaps a ton of benefits for the young ones, we agree. In fact, a long-term study conducted by researchers at the University of Newcastle in the U.K. found that children whose fathers spent more time with their kids during their formative years had a higher intelligence quotient (IQ) than kids who received little attention from their dads. It's not just about having a father present in their lives, but more important is the quality time the kids spend with their dad. The more effort a father invests in his children, the smarter they turn out to be as kids, and the more successful as adults.
The results of the four-decade study were collected after conducting research on 11,000 British boys and girls, and published in the British journal Evolution and Human Behaviour. It measured their IQ when they reached 11 years old, and the impact of having a hands-on father can be traced even well into adulthood. The participants of the study showed that those who had more involved dads had better social mobility well in their 40s.
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"What was surprising about this research was the real sizeable difference in the progress of children who benefited from paternal interest and how thirty years later, people whose dads were involved are more upwardly mobile, says study lead author Dr. Daniel Nettle, psychologist from the Centre for Behaviour and Evolution, Institute of Neuroscience at Newcastle University. He added that a second adult present during the kids' growing up years lead to the children acquiring more skills and developing more abilities that they can use in their adult life.
And it's not just IQ. Several studies have proven that children with involved dads grow up more emotionally secure, more confident to deal with challenging situations and solve problems, and are more eager to learn and explore the world. Simply put, kids are generally happier when dad is around.
That is not to say, however, that children born to single-parent families are shortchanged. One of the ways to fill this void is to look for a father figure for the kids to look up to. Parenting resource speaker Fr. Ruben Tanseco, S.J., says, “The youth today yearn for more emotional closeness with their dads. They also want tangible and credible male models for living as well as real moral and spiritual leadership from their dads."
Sources: October 1, 2008. "Fatherly contact and child intelligence" (nhk.uk) September 30, 2008. "Children Who Spend Time With Their Fathers Have A Higher IQ" (telegraph.co.uk)