Thursday, April 8, 2010

What A Difference A Dad Makes

My children's terrific dad. Tired, but logging in
the long hours at home, too!

This is an article written by Leah Hennen that I thought was amazing.  I am including it here, although it doesn't specifically relate to twins, on certain levels it does.  I say this because raising any child without a partner is extremely hard; raising twins on your own is damn near impossible.  I believe that we all need a Father figure in our life for balance.  The "Dad" referred to in this piece should be thought of not just as a male, biological parent, but as someone (even a woman) who takes on the typical male role in the family.  So, if you are a same sex couple, look at it that way.  If you happen to be a single parent, hopefully there is someone in your children's life who can take on the other role in raising them - at least part of the time!  The emotional and psychological benefits are so enormous.

Here's Leah Hannen's original article:

What a difference a dad makes
There's no doubt about it: Dads on diaper duty are part of the cultural zietgeist.  Last month, British prime minister, Tony Blair's wife, Cherie, publicly called on her head-of-state hubby to put his political duties aside for at least a week to help care for their fourth child.  Around the same time, U.S. State Department spokesman James Rubin stepped down from his high-powered post to put in some quality time with newborn son, Darius.  But it's not just high-profile dads who are feeling the siren call of home life - a recent study by the Radcliffe Public Policy Institute found that for the first time ever, working fathers rank family above career, and two thirds of these devoted dads are even willing to trade a chunk of their paycheck for more time to bond with their baby.

That's good news, because a growing body of research has found that the more involved fathers are in their children's daily lives, the smarter, healthier, and happier their kids will be.  Among the perks of paternal pampering, according to recent studies:
  • Dads who are affectionate and spend time with their children are more likely to have securely attached infants.
  • Kids whose fathers do their fare share of hands-on childcare are ahead of the curve developmentally and in problem-solving, social and verbal skills.
  • Father-child interaction promotes physical well being, perceptual abilities, and social skills.
  • Children with involved fathers have enhanced cognitive development, greater self-esteem and self control, better life skills and social competence, and fewer behavioral problems.  
  • Girls who have close, playful relationships with their dads tend to be more popular and assertive.
  • Boys with strong paternal bonds do better academically and score better on IQ tests
  • The more involved dads are with their children's education, the better kids do in school and the more they enjoy learning.
  • Children with supportive fathers feel more competent, do better socially and cognitively, and are less likely to be depressed or have behavioral problems.
  • Children whose fathers spend alone time with them at least twice a week become more compassionate adults.
The benefits aren't just for the baby, either: Fathers are healthier, better-adjusted, more involved in community and service organizations, have better relationships with their own siblings and parents, and have stronger marriages than non-dads do.  What's more, though involved fathers tend to log fewer hours at the office, putting children at the top of their priority list seems to give men a career boost as well.  Research has found that these dads tend to handle work-related stress better, and that by middle-age, they're more successful than workaholics.

What do you think? Do you think the father in your family gets how much of a difference his presence makes? I'd love to know what you think.

Thanks for reading!
The Twin Coach
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