Particularly at this stage of things — with the kid clinging to his mom like she’s a buoy in a large and hostile ocean — it’s nice for us dads to get some affirmation. Turns out a new study at Yale shows that fathers bring a different style of parenting and problem-solving that is crucial to healthy childhood development. We all knew that, right? But it’s nice to see science say it. This comes from an article in USA Today that is short enough to reproduce in its entirety, below the fold:
Dads do make a difference in a child’s life.
Experts say — and new research suggests — that fathers bring a different parenting style to everyday activities like getting dressed in the morning or kicking around a soccer ball.
Dads often take an active approach that encourages children to solve problems on their own rather than asking for help, says Kyle Pruett, a child psychiatrist at the Yale School of Medicine.
If a child is having trouble with homework, a father is likely to coach the child first and help out only when that approach fails. “The average father will let the frustration meter heat up a little more,” Pruett says.
Kids need both parenting styles, but the father’s contribution can be crucial: It helps kids develop a can-do attitude and helps hone their problem-solving skills, he says.
Fathers often adopt parenting methods to help prepare kids for the real world, Pruett says. That’s why so many fathers line up to watch a soccer match, he says. And after the game, they often help the kids figure out how they could have played a little better or how to cope with defeat.
“It’s not just about the sport,” he says. “It’s about the lesson that life isn’t always fair.”