First, an article from Dina from the UK Daily Mail.
Dr Paul Ramchandani, who led the Oxford University study, said behavioural problems in early childhood often lead to health and psychological problems in adulthood which can be difficult to overcome.
But he said most research on how parents affect a baby’s behaviour and development has focused on mothers, when fathers also play an important role. The research team recruited 192 families from maternity units and experts filmed the mothers and fathers separately as they played with their children at home in different situations – looking at how caring or engaged they were.
The parents did psychological tests, while the children’s behaviour was assessed examining whether they were fretful, disobedient, had tantrums or in the worst cases showed aggression by hitting and biting.
‘We found that children whose fathers were more engaged in the interactions had better outcomes, with fewer subsequent behavioural problems,’ said Dr Ramchandani.
‘At the other end of the scale children tended to have greater behavioural problems when their fathers were more remote and lost in their own thoughts, or when their fathers interacted less with them.
‘This association tended to be stronger for boys than for girls, suggesting that perhaps boys are more susceptible to the influence of their father from a very early age.’
The study, which is published today in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, found the three-month-olds with less engaged fathers were more likely to be in the 10 per cent of children who displayed the beginnings of behavioural problems at one year old.
This is surprising to me, and it conflicts with my idea of avoiding the little monsters until they are ready to learn apologetics at the age of 6. Now because of this study, I would have to be involved with the children right away, if I ever have any. Well, live and learn!
The economic storms of recent years have raised concerns about growing inequality and questions about a core national faith, that even Americans of humble backgrounds have a good chance of getting ahead. Most of the discussion has focused on labor market forces like falling blue-collar wages and lavish Wall Street pay.
But striking changes in family structure have also broadened income gaps and posed new barriers to upward mobility. College-educated Americans like the Faulkners are increasingly likely to marry one another, compounding their growing advantages in pay. Less-educated women like Ms. Schairer, who left college without finishing her degree, are growing less likely to marry at all, raising children on pinched paychecks that come in ones, not twos.
Estimates vary widely, but scholars have said that changes in marriage patterns — as opposed to changes in individual earnings — may account for as much as 40 percent of the growth in certain measures of inequality. Long a nation of economic extremes, the United States is also becoming a society of family haves and family have-nots, with marriage and its rewards evermore confined to the fortunate classes.
[…]About 41 percent of births in the United States occur outside marriage, up sharply from 17 percent three decades ago. But equally sharp are the educational divides, according to an analysis by Child Trends, a Washington research group. Less than 10 percent of the births to college-educated women occur outside marriage, while for women with high school degrees or less the figure is nearly 60 percent.
[…]While many children of single mothers flourish (two of the last three presidents had mothers who were single during part of their childhood), a large body of research shows that they are more likely than similar children with married parents to experience childhood poverty, act up in class, become teenage parents and drop out of school.
[…]Four decades ago, families in the top income fifth spent about four times as much as those at the bottom fifth on things like sports, music and private schools, according to research byGreg J. Duncan of the University of California, Irvine, and Richard J. Murnane of Harvard. Now affluent families spend seven times as much.
Two parents also bring two parenting perspectives. Ms. Faulkner does bedtime talks. Mr. Faulkner does math. When Ms. Faulkner’s coaxing failed to persuade Jeremy to try hamburgers, Mr. Faulkner offered to jump in a pool fully clothed if he took a bite — an offer Jeremy found too tempting to refuse.
While many studies have found that children of single parents are more likely to grow up poor, less is known about their chances of advancement as adults. But there are suggestions that the absence of a father in the house makes it harder for children to climb the economic ladder.
Scott Winship of the Brookings Institution examined the class trajectories of 2,400 Americans now in their mid-20s. Among those raised in the poorest third as teenagers, 58 percent living with two parents moved up to a higher level as adults, compared with just 44 percent of those with an absent parent.
A parallel story played out at the top: just 15 percent of teenagers living with two parents fell to the bottom third, compared with 27 percent of teenagers without both parents.
“You’re more likely to rise out of the bottom if you live with two parents, and you’re less likely to fall out of the top,” Mr. Winship said.
That article has some poignant illustrations of what fatherlessness does to a child.
Still think that single motherhood by choice is a great idea? Now if you were a legislator, tell me what legislation you would introduce to make sure that the government was encouraging fatherhood and discouraging single motherhood. How would you make marriage and fathers in the home easier for men, and single motherhood harder for women? It’s a policy problem – we have to change the incentives if we want to protect the children. How would you communicate to women that they need to get married before they have children, and how would you help them to know how to evaluate a man so that they can tell if he will make a good husband and father, and perform the traditional male roles in the family?