News Stories

The Dad Difference

Newswise - Do dads parent differently than moms? It's a question more and more single mothers are asking themselves. The answer is "yes," but it's not the way you think: Dads aren't necessarily stricter disciplinarians. Fathers tend to be more unpredictable and engage in more fun activities with their kids, perhaps in order to make up for spending less time with the children than mothers do.

Psychologist Rob Palkovitz says, "When fathers come on the scene, they engage in spontaneous, unpredictable and wacky stuff in order to have a higher impact, sort of 'I'm home! It's going to be impossible to ignore me!' Fathers desire to have an impact and a presence. Because fathers have less of that face time, they tend to go for the big effect. The place where you see that most exaggerated is with nonresidential fathers?divorced or separated dads."

Palkovitz says that many single mothers have done heroic jobs raising children by themselves, but added that fathers play a unique role in raising children, while absentee fathers usually cause a negative impact on the children's development.

"If it's death, then that's unavoidable, but if it's abandonment, if it's 'I divorced your mom, but I don't see you any more,' that's a lifestyle choice and that sends a different message to a child," he says. "With a divorced and father-absent family, there is a sense of loss that isn't there in a father-present family." Dads are important as role models for sons, but they are equally important for their daughters. Daughters with Dads do better in school in later, in their careers. They also have more successful romantic relationships as adults.

Art credit: http://www.freeimages.co.uk

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