Current research into the key role played by fathers

Dad and son walking in the bush

The Centre for Community Child Health, which is part of the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, recently published a key report titled The First 1000 Days: An Evidence Paper, September 2017.

A key section of the report considers the contribution of fathers/male caregivers to a child’s development. The report noted that “While research on parenting often focuses primarily on the role of mothers or families in general, growing evidence supports the critical and unique role of fathers/male caregivers in early childhood development" (Cabrera, Shannon, Tamis-LeMonda, 2007).

A 2008 systematic review found that father engagement positively impacted social, behavioural, psychological and cognitive outcomes in children (Sarkadi, Kristiansson, Oberklaid& Bremberg, 2008).

Specifically, greater father involvement has been linked to: greater levels of cognitive and social competence; increased capacity for empathy; positive self-control and self-esteem; better interactions with siblings; and better academic progress (Wilson & Prior, 2011).”

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