• July/August 2001
  • Vol. 2, No. 4

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Dads Make a Difference

Fathers are an important ingredient in the mix that makes a happy life for children, reports a new Research Brief from Child Trends.

The brief focuses on fathers who live with their children and examines how they get involved in four key areas: general activities, school activities, limit-setting, and religious activities. The report shows that a father's involvement in each of those areas can contribute significantly to a child's happiness and healthy development.

Authors Brett Brown, Erik Michelsen, Tamara Halle, and Kristin Moore analyzed data from the 1997 Panel Study of Income Dynamics, the 1999 National Household Education Survey, and the 1996 National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health.

"Helping children with homework; taking them to a service at a church, synagogue, or mosque; monitoring their television viewing; or simply tossing around a ball or helping with a crafts project might seem as if they are 'nothing special.' But such actions can help children feel special," the report states.

The authors note that "even though fathers, on average, are less likely than mothers to be engaged in activities with their children, many fathers are involved, and their involvement should be acknowledged and encouraged." The authors also urge that ways be found to encourage absent or seldom-seen fathers to become involved in their children's lives.

A more extensive statistical profile of fathers will be available from Child Trends in late 2001.

Access a copy of Fathers' Activities with Their Kids online at: http://www.childtrends.org/files/June_2001.pdf

Contact information:

Child Trends
4301 Connecticut Ave., NW
Suite 100
Washington, DC 20008
Phone: 202-362-5580
Fax: 202-362-5533
Website: http://www.childtrends.org

Related Item

Read President Bush's proclamation on Father's Day, 2001 at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/06/20010615.html.

See these related articles in past issues of the Children's Bureau Express:

  • "Institute Focuses on Latino Fathers" (July 2000)
  • "HHS Electronic Management Tool Kit for Fatherhood Projects Now Available" (June 2000)
  • "HHS Promotes Responsible Fatherhood" (May 2000)

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