8 Ways Dads Influence Their Kids More Than Moms

little girl playing soccer with her dadOn Father's Day, you may thank your dad for your love of baseball or your husband for your baby's blue eyes. But bear in mind: You may have them to thank for much more. It's not just shared hobbies or genetic traits dads bring to the table for their kids ... 

"Fathers play a key role in the development of their children," explains Kim Painter, Ph.D., a child and family psychologist in New Jersey. Here, 7 things dads' behaviors and parenting influence more than moms ...


1. Whether your child will ace his spelling test ... or the SATs. Fathers have a bigger effect than moms on kids' language development, according to research from the University of North Carolina, which found that when fathers used more words with their children during play, children had more advanced language skills a year later. What's more, dads who are involved, nurturing, and playful with their infants have children with higher IQs, according to a 2006 report by the Office on Child Abuse and Neglect.

2. Your daughter's virginity. Several studies suggest that fathers also have a great effect on their daughters’ sexual behavior during adolescence. According to psychologist Sarah E. Hill of Texas Christian University, in her paper on the matter published in the Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, there's “a robust association between father absence — both physical and psychological — and accelerated reproductive development and sexual risk-taking in daughters." On the flipside, teens close with their fathers start having sex later, on average, an October 2012 study in the journal Pediatrics found.

 More from The Stir: How Dads Affect a Baby's Risk of Autism

3. How likely they are to act out. Children whose dads were depressed while mom was expecting were more likely to exhibit emotional and behavioral problems at age 3, according to research published in the journal Pediatrics. And another study showed that fathers’ depression when the children were 3 predicted behavior problems when they were 6.

4. Whether your kid eats kale chips or potato chips. "It is now clear that a baby’s risk to develop poor eating habits are clearly influenced by what others are doing around them, especially their dad," says genetic counselor at Emory University, Karen Grinzaid. Researchers at Texas A&M University echoed this in a 2011 study that found the biggest infuence on how often children ate fast food was the number of times a father did. Also, children whose fathers were more authoritarian were more likely to eat junk food, as were kids whose dads believed they didn't have a lot of control at work and who also placed less value on family meal time.

5. Whether she's voted "Most Popular." Children who have an involved father are more likely to be emotionally secure, be confident to explore their surroundings, and, as they grow older, have better social connections with peers

6. The chances he'll end up in detention every day. Kids with an involved father are less likely to get in trouble at home, school, or in the neighborhood, according to a report published in Marriage & Family Review.

7. The likelihood of your child being a bully. Rough-housing, the sort of "rough and tumble" play that kids tend to engage in more exclusively with their dads, can teach children how to deal with aggressive impulses and physical contact without losing control of their emotions.

8. Your daughter's shot at becoming president of the United States Dads who believe in gender equality are more likely than dads with sexist beliefs to have daughters with high career ambitions, according to research presented at the 2013 meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology.


How do you believe your dad influenced you or your husband has helped shape your child?


Image via alexventpap/Flickr

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