While there have been many studies showing the importance of maternal influence on children, new findings show that a father’s presence can make a big difference in the social development of offspring. Researchers have found that mice raised without a father were more aggressive than those raised with both parents, and abnormal social interactions were more common. This is consistent with human studies of kids raised without their fathers, where higher incidences of substance abuse and deviant behaviors are seen.
Why is this important? In 2012, it was estimated that 1 in 3 children in the United States- or about 15 million children- lived in a home without their fathers. Compare this to 1960, when only about 1 in 10 children grew up without their fathers. This research shows that both parents are very important to a child’s mental health development, and that parents should be aware of potential social and behavioral changes in children raised without a father’s presence.
Dads- are you hearing this? You are so important in your kids’ lives! Take advantage of the moments you spend with them. They depend on you!