Fathers play a surprisingly large role in their child’s development — from language and cognitive growth in toddlerhood to social skills in fifth grade, a new study has found.
The findings published in two academic journals Early Childhood Research Quarterly and Infant and Child Development provided pieces of evidence of the father’s importance to a child’s outcomes and reinforces the idea that early childhood programs should focus on the whole family, including mother and father alike.
The study found that fathers’ parenting-related stress had a harmful effect on their child’s cognitive and language development when the children were two-to-three years old even when the mothers’ influences were taken into account. Fathers’ influence also had a larger effect on boys’ language than girls’ language. Parental stress and mental health issues affect how parents interact with their children and subsequently, childhood development, revealed the study.