It is generally believed that mothers are of prime importance for the child’s healthy development but a recent study highlights the role of fathers as well. Mothers and fathers, both, have a very distinct way of parenting and it plays a vital role in the development of a child. In a general household, mothers are usually involved in disciplining or teaching the child and uses oral interaction whereas fathers are involved in playing games with the child, giving them tasks and structuring their conversations around these lines. Basically why this helps is because it gives a child a sense of identification, which makes the child associate each parent with a different individual, and as such develops cognitive and social skills of the child.
‘Further, children who have book reading sessions with their fathers early in life showed better cognitive development, including attention, problem-solving, language and social skills, at the age of two. This suggests that reading activities and educational references may support cognitive and learning development in these children,” said Vaheshta Sethna, lead researcher from King’s College London.
Father-son relationship comprises a positive relationship that can help the son become aware of his emotions and ability of expression. It is mainly a friendly relation between the two. There is no such model dedicated to it, but this is how their relationship functions.
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Father-daughter relationship is a very important relationship, where a father acts stricter sometimes during his daughter’s adolescent years to guide her about relationships and also boost his daughter’s self-esteem so that she does not get self-conscious and under confident.
In addition, the positive link between involved fathers and higher cognitive skills in children were seen equally whether the child was a boy or a girl.
Paul Ramchandani, Professor at Imperial College London was quoted saying, “Even as early as three months, these father-child interactions can positively predict cognitive development almost two years later, so there’s something probably quite meaningful for later development,”
“The clear message for new fathers here is to get stuck in and play with your baby. Even when they’re really young playing and interacting with them can have a positive effect,” Ramchandani added.
The study analysed the data of 128 fathers, and accounting for factors such as their income and age, they found a positive correlation between the degree to which fathers engaged with their babies and how the children scored on the tests.
New fathers please take note, the more time you spend playing or reading books with your baby at the age of three months, the more developed will be his or her cognitive skills like recognising colours and shapes by the age of two years.