The Science of Fatherhood

Moms get a lot of credit for being hard-wired care givers and for having motherly instincts.  But the truth is that dads have inherent parenting traits too.  Today we’re exploring the science of fatherhood and how men are built to be great dads.

The Science of FatherhoodThe Biological Clock Ticks Both Ways

Yes, it’s worse for women but men’s fertility weakens with age too.  Male fertility decreases by about 5% each year.  Unlike women, it is feasible for men to conceive well into their golden years, but the chances of birth defects increase greatly.

Pregnancy Symptoms

Couvade Syndrome is the phenomenon that men experience many of the same pregnancy symptoms as their pregnant partners.  From nausea, sleeplessness and weight gain, to anxiety and mood swings, men can suffer from it all.  This sympathy turned empathy is a physiological condition.  Studies show that men’s hormone levels change – less testosterone and cortisol – along with their partners.

The Meaning of Cries

A baby’s cry may bother a mom more than it does a dad, but they can equally recognize what the cries mean.  Knowing a cry is less about instinct and more about time spent with the baby.  If either parent spends at least 4 hours with the baby a day, he or she is likely to recognize the reason for the wailing.

Risky Business

Dads are less likely to coddle their children than moms, which makes for a good balance on the parenting spectrum.  During playtime, dads are more likely to encourage children to take risks.  Developing reasonable-risk taking habits early can help children face challenges later in life.  And it doesn’t mean dads aren’t nurturing, it just means they nurture different, and equally important, aspects of development.

The Science of FatherhoodBetter Grades and Better Behavior

Children with involved dads are more likely to have higher IQs, get better grades, have better behavior and make good decisions.  Research indicates that present and loving fathers are excellent role models and children strive to please their fathers.  So a father’s love may encourage better academic and behavior performance.

Egalitarian Parenting

Even if parents take on traditional gender roles, demonstrating blurred lines helps children evolve past stereotypes, raises their ambitions and makes them more well-rounded partners.  When fathers chip in at housework and mothers work outside the home, children learn that they can truly do it all and become anything they want to be.  This is especially true for girls.  When fathers help maintain their domestic lives, girls have greater career aspirations.

Dads and Daughters

Loving fathers help daughters have a better body image, self-confidence and improves their romantic relationships in the future.  Strong father-daughter relationships show girls how to trust and depend on a male figure and learn how men and women should treat each other.  This translates into more confidence and stronger self-worth as adults and as they enter relationships with men.  Also, having a strong father figure in the lives of both boys and girls usually leads to less risky sexual behavior.

Dads Make More Money

A study out of New York found that dads make more money than men without children.  Kids are expensive, of course, and most parents feel great responsibility for providing for their families.  This makes them strive harder in their jobs to bring in more money.  Dads tend to be more confident and command better pay.  How much more?  Dads make up to 40% more than non-dads.

There you have it, dads are scientifically hard-wired to be the amazing creatures that they are!  And we’re so glad they are!