A Close Father Son Bond Lessens The Likelihood Of Behaviour Problems

Men's attitude to fathering can have a big impact

Blaming your parents for every emotional defect you have is an age old trick. But a study from Oxford University has found there may be truth in it after all. Researchers found fathers with a closer emotional bond to their child who are confident in parenting skills are less likely have children with behavioural issues.

Parents of 10,440 eight month old children completed a survey about their mental health and their child's. The questionnaire examined areas like attitudes to parenting, time spent on childcare, child behaviour and development.

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Researchers also looked for indications of fathers being confident with their child, forming a strong bond, feeling fulfilled and parenthood making them feel closer to their partner. Data was then collected for over 6,000 of the children when they were aged 9 and 11 to establish patterns in later life with parenting practices.

Fathers who scored highly on their emotional response to their child and parenting skills were 28% less likely to produce kids who suffer from behavioural problems later in life than the fathers who reported lower levels of parenting satisfaction.

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The study, written up in BMJ Open, concluded: "The findings of this research study suggest that it is psychological and emotional aspects of paternal involvement in a child's infancy that are most powerful in influencing later child behaviour and not the amount of time that fathers are engaged in childcare or domestic tasks in the household."

"Positive parenting by fathers may contribute to good outcomes in children in a number of ways. Involved fathers may influence children indirectly by being a source of instrumental and emotional support to mothers who provide more of the direct care for children."

That doesn't mean you aren't needed on nappy duty, but it's worth noting parentings chores aren't the be all and end all of human happiness.