About Fathers

Perspectives on fathers and their children.

More on the Importance of Fathers from Susan Newman

Newman points out that I'm not the only one who thinks fathers are important.
Susan Newman, Ph.D.
This post is a response to Surprising, Well-Kept Secrets About Fathers by Susan Newman, Ph.D.

In a post on my new book, Do Fathers Matter? What Science Is Telling Us About the Parent We've Overlooked, PT blogger and author Susan Newman points out a few important observations about fathers that I hadn't seen while researching my book.

Among them are the observations of Linda Nielsen, professor of educational and adolescent psychology and the author of Father-Daughter Relationships: Contemporary Research & Issues, who wrote, “The well-fathered daughter is also the most likely to have relationships with men that are emotionally intimate and fulfilling. During the college years, these daughters are more likely than poorly-fathered women to turn to their boyfriends for emotional comfort and support and they are less likely to be “talked into” having sex....What is surprising is not that fathers have such an impact on their daughters’ relationships with men, but that they generally have more impact than mothers do.”

I wrote that in my book, too, but Nielsen puts it very nicely.

Newman also pointed me to Alyssa Croft of the University of British Columbia, who, with her colleagues, concluded that fathers who help with household chores are more likely to raise daughters who aspire to less traditional, and potentially higher-paying careers.

These observations on fathers and daughters raise a question. What about the influence of fathers on sons? I wrote in Do Fathers Matter that fathers can influence the development of normal masculine traits in their sons by maintaining a warm relationship with them. But there must be more to it than that. It's my impression that not as much research has been done on fathers and sons. And I'd appreciate it if readers would point me to any such research that they are aware of.

Teaser Photo: Shutterstock.

Journalist Paul Raeburn is the author of Do Fathers Matter? to be published by Scientific America/FSG in June, 2014. He is also the author of the Fathers and Families blog.

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