Sure, moms are ah-mazing. But dads? While they’re often portrayed as bumbling buffoons who can barely change a diaper, science argues that they deserve a lot more credit than you might think.Not only do studies show that dads do just as well as moms at interpreting what babies want, they may actually be moreimportant than moms when it comes to keeping kids happy. For a full rundown of scientific reasons to give more props to pops, read on.
Dads Know What Their Babies’ Cries Mean
Think dads just aren’t wired to understand what baby needs? On the contrary, a study published in Nature Communications found that gender has nothing to do with it. It’s a factor of time — and as long as they clocked at least four hours a day on dad duty, dads could recognize their baby’s cries just as well as mom could in a roomful of infants.
Dads Can Feel ‘Sympathy Pregnancy’ Symptoms
Believe it or not, dads can experience all the annoying side effects of pregnancy that you do: It’s called couvade syndrome, and one study found that the majority of men experience a minimum of three to a maximum of 29 “sympathy pregnancy symptoms” during their partner’s pregnancy. The most common was mood swings, but men also experienced morning sickness, insomnia, flatulence and far more. So don’t feel like you’re going through pregnancy alone — you’ve got company much closer than you might think!
Dads Push Kids To Take More Risks
While mama bears are masters at keeping their kiddos safe, dads have the edge in the opposite way: fathers encourage kids to take risks. In one study asking parents how steep an incline they’d allow their baby to climb, 62 percent of dads said they’d allow their baby to try a ramp beyond their ability, while only 56 percent of moms agreed to the same slope. The upshot? Playtime with pop instills more bravery and resilience in kids that could pay off when they face a variety of challenges down the road.
Dad’s Love Matters More Than Mom’s
Of course, love and support from dad and mom have long-ranging effects on kids. Yet a new study has found that dad’s love may matter more. In an examination of 36 studies published in the Personality and Social Psychology Review, researchers found that a child’s future well-being and happiness hinge heavily on whether dad lavishes them with affection. One theory for this: Kids often look up to dads, so a father’s attention may carry more weight, and have positive ripple effects on a child’s self-esteem, confidence, and more.
Dads Keep Their Kids Virgins Longer
If there’s one area where dads discourage risky behavior, it’s in the bedroom! One study in the journalPediatrics showed that teens close to their fathers have sex later than those who aren’t.
Dads Make Their Babies Smarter
Want a brainy kid? Then get dad pitching in with the homework: a report by the Office on Child Abuse and Neglect found that kids with highly involved dads ended up with higher I.Q.s and more A’s on their report cards than those who hold child-care duties at arm’s length.
Dads Raise Their Daughters’ Ambitions
Of course moms know their daughters can achieve anything. But dads need to believe it too — and practice what they preach by, say, not leaving all the housework to their wives. According to a study presented at the meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, “egalitarian” dads who pitched in around the home were more likely to have daughters with loftier ambitions than daughters of Archie Bunker types. These girls played with “boy” toys like Transformers, and were more likely to say they planned to work outside the home as adults.
Dads Bolster Daughters’ Body Image
Dads not only raise their daughter’s ambitions, but they body image, too. Studies show that girls who have close relationships with their dads are less likely to become depressed or develop eating disorders
Dads Help Daughters Date Better
Daughters close with dads aren’t only extremely confident about their looks and career prospects — they also have great dating lives to boot! The reason: since these girls have learned how to trust and relate to the main male in their life — pop — this rubs off on their romantic relationships, making them more long-lasting and fulfilling.
Dads Should Be Involved Daily, Not Just on Big Trips
Got a husband who works around the clock and thinks he’ll make up for lost time with his kids during week-long ski expeditions or Bahamas vacations? Well he’s fooling himself. According to a study by Brigham Young University, kids felt their families were closer and more functional not when dads lavished kids with attention during pricey trips, but when fathers were involved in everyday activities, like playing in the yard or watching TV together. In other words: dads looking to bond with their families don’t need to pay wads of money for a big trip. All they need to do is show up for dinner or to read their kiddos a book come bedtime. So easy!
Dads Make More Money Than Guys Without Kids
It’s no secret that kids cost a bundle to raise — which may explain why research by the City University of New York found that fathers make more money than men without kids. And it’s a lot — a 40 percent edge. Researchers theorize it may be partly because non-dads are more willing to take part-time work, but also that dads may just seem more competent, and command a higher paycheck as a result.
Single Dads Do Just a Well As Single Moms
Think kids raised by dads alone would turn into uncivilized animals? Well, a new study by Ohio State University begs to differ. On comparing teens living in single-father homes with teens living with single moms, researchers found that both groups of kids turned out just about the same in terms of their behavior and performance at school.