DADS PLAY A KEY ROLE IN CHILD DEVELOPMENT

Fathers play a surprisingly large role in their children’s development, from language and cognitive growth in toddlerhood to social skills in fifth grade, according to new findings from Michigan State University scholars.

asian father and son having a conversation

The research provides some of the most conclusive evidence to date of fathers’ importance to children’s outcomes and reinforces the idea that early childhood programs such as Head Start should focus on the whole family, including mother and father alike. The findings are published online in two academic journals, Early Childhood Research Quarterly and Infant and Child Development.

“There’s this whole idea that grew out of past research that dads really don’t have direct effects on their kids, that they just kind of create the tone for the household and that moms are the ones who affect their children’s development,” said Claire Vallotton, associate professor and primary investigator on the research project. “But here we show that fathers really do have a direct effect on kids, both in the short term and long term.”

Using data from about 730 families that participated in a survey of Early Head Start programs at 17 sites across the nation, the researchers investigated the effects of parents’ stress and mental health problems such as depression on their children. Parental stress and mental health issues affect how parents interact with their children and, subsequently, childhood development.

The study found that fathers’ parenting-related stress had a harmful effect on their childrens’ cognitive and language development when the children were 2 to 3 years old, even when the mothers’ influences were taken into account. This impact varied by gender; fathers’ influence, for example, had a larger effect on boys’ language than girls’ language.

Another key finding: Fathers’ and mothers’ mental health had a similarly significant effect on behavior problems among toddlers. Further, fathers’ mental health had a long-term impact, leading to differences in children’s social skills (such as self-control and cooperation) when the children reached fifth grade. In fact, fathers’ depression symptoms when children were toddlers were more influential on children’s later social skills than were mothers’ symptoms.

The findings contribute to the small but growing collection of research affirming the effects of fathers’ characteristics and father-child relationship qualities on children’s social development, rather than just the fathers’ residence in the home or presence in the child’s life, according to the paper published in Early Childhood Research Quarterly.

Tamesha Harewood, lead author on the paper in Infant and Child Development, said fathers, in addition to mothers, should be included in parenting research and family-intervention programs and policies.

“A lot of family-risk agencies are trying get the dad more involved, but these are some of the things they could be missing,”said Harewood, a researcher in MSU’s Department of Human Development and Family Studies. “When the agency is talking with the dad, it’s not just about providing for your child economically, but also to be there for your child, to think about how stress or depression might be influencing your child. In order to understand and help children in their development, there needs to be a comprehensive view of the whole family, including both mom and dad.”

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Childhood trauma leads to lifelong chronic illness — so why isn’t the medical community helping patients?

When I was twelve, I was coming home from swimming at my neighbor’s dock when I saw an ambulance’s flashing lights in our driveway. I still remember the asphalt burning my feet as I stood, paralyzed, and watched the paramedics take away my father. It was as if I knew those flashing lights were a harbinger that my childhood was over.

At the hospital, a surgeon performed “minor” elective bowel surgery on my young dad. The surgeon made an error, and instead of my father coming home to the “welcome home” banners we’d painted, he died.

The medical care system failed my father miserably. Then the medical care system began to fail me.

ACEs Too High

ADonnaDadWhen I was twelve, I was coming home from swimming at my neighbor’s dock when I saw an ambulance’s flashing lights in our driveway. I still remember the asphalt burning my feet as I stood, paralyzed, and watched the paramedics take away my father. It was as if I knew those flashing lights were a harbinger that my childhood was over.

At the hospital, a surgeon performed “minor” elective bowel surgery on my young dad. The surgeon made an error, and instead of my father coming home to the “welcome home” banners we’d painted, he died.

The medical care system failed my father miserably. Then the medical care system began to fail me.

At fourteen, I started fainting. The doctors implied I was trying to garner attention. In college I began having full seizures. I kept them to myself, fearful of seeming a modern Camille. I’d awaken on the floor drenched…

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Problems might last into early adulthood, study suggests

Source: Harsh Parenting May Harm a Child’s Physical Health

Harsh parenting may leave more than psychological scars, it might also leave lasting physical problems — such as obesity — even into young adulthood, new research suggests.

And having one kind, caring parent doesn’t seem to counteract the effects of the harsh parent.

“Harshness, as we measured it, is always bad for kids. But it is particularly bad if the adolescent perceives high levels of warmth and support from the other parent,” said study lead author Thomas Schofield.

The researchers defined “harsh” parenting as angry, hostile and antisocial.

Until now, “we did not know if parenting that was harsh — while not falling into the category of abuse — could predict physical health,” said Schofield, an assistant professor of human development and family studies at Iowa State University.

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In a brain scan, relational pain—that caused by isolation during punishment—can look the same as physical abuse. Is alone in the corner the best place for your child?

Source: ‘Time-Outs’ Are Hurting Your Child

In a brain scan, relational pain—that caused by isolation during punishment—can look the same as physical abuse. Is alone in the corner the best place for your child?

Time-out is the most popular discipline technique used by parents and the one most often recommended by pediatricians and child development experts. But is it good for kids? Is it effective? Not according to the implications of the latest research on relationships and the developing brain.

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This isn’t some throwing a touchdown pass to win the game or a homerun in the bottom of the ninth issue, this is important.

Source: How to Play Princesses Like a Man –

When I found out the Gangster was five, I had to think about what that meant for me. It’s been twenty-five years since I helped my mom with daycare and the majority of the kids were boys. Was I interested in kids? How much responsibility is a kid when you’re dating their mom? Will the child accept us in their life? But I was in. I didn’t meet the Gangster until after six weeks of dates, talking, talking, and talking to her mom. I didn’t fully realize it then, but after we talked about it later, my Southern Belle was vetting me too, trying to answer the additional 100,000 questions concerning her child beyond her personal dating ones.

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Source: Seeing the benefits of failure shapes kids’ beliefs about intelligence

Parents’ beliefs about whether failure is a good or a bad thing guide how their children think about their own intelligence, according to new research from Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. The research indicates that it’s parents’ responses to failure, and not their beliefs about intelligence, that are ultimately absorbed by their kids.

Risks of harm from spanking confirmed by analysis of 5 decades of research

Source: Risks of harm from spanking confirmed by analysis of 5 decades of research

The more children are spanked, the more likely they are to defy their parents and to experience increased anti-social behavior, aggression, mental health problems and cognitive difficulties, according to a new meta-analysis of 50 years of research on spanking by experts at the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Michigan.

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In order to be relevant in your children’s lives from their early years onward, it’s important to change your parenting styles to match their temperaments as they grow.

Source: Change Your Parenting Style as Your Kids Grow, Expert Says

f parents could have their way, they would take control of their children’s lives forever. They want them to make the right decisions, get into the right schools, meet the right people, have the right (i.e. similar to their own) values. But what parents need to know is in order to stay relevant in their children’s lives, they need to relinquish some of that control they so greatly crave.

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Good Parenting at Every Stage

In their book, “No Drama Discipline,” mental health experts, Drs. Dan Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson, describe how the brain works, especially when kids feel intense emotions. They emphasize three things to keep in mind when your child is having a difficult time.

Source: Thoughtful Parenting: Remembering brain development during meltdowns

Did you know the human brain grows through childhood and into a person’s 20s? When your child is having a hard time, remember that his brain is still growing and he’s not able to think as logically or behave as kindly as we would hope he would. With your help, he’ll learn how to manage his emotions and make logical decisions, but it will take some time.

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