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Sunday, November 25, 2007

Why have fathers become more active in the raising of their children?

"Fathers uniquely contribute to (the) development" of their children, says University of Maryland Assistant Professor of Education Natasha J. Cabrera. She's spent the last five years studying fathers, with research focusing on the influences that fathers and mothers make on their children's development, particularly in low income populations.

Cabrera says fathers are more involved in their families today than they were 20 or 30 years ago simply because family dynamics have changed. "Increased maternal labor force participation, changing family structures--more single-parent, combined, cohabiting, and divorced families--has helped create a cultural shift that expects more hands-on child rearing from dads," she says.

And as fathers become more active in helping raise their children, the benefits of that relationship become more and more apparent. For one thing, children who grow up with an involved father have better language skills. It's not always easy for dads to maintain relationships when the family is not together, but Cabrera says if that relationship stays positive, and the father remains involved, it will have a positive effect on the children.

The Maryland assistant professor, who is also associated with the Maryland Population Research Center, says that programs aimed at helping families must include the father. "If we're truly serious about helping 'families' and children have better lives, then we have to focus on all members of the family.

Posted by Ajay :: 1:14 PM :: 0 comments

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