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Bond with dad key to well adjusted kids

Press Association logoPress Association 23/11/2016 Jane Kirby

Fathers who are emotionally involved with their children and feel confident as a parent are less likely to raise offspring with behavioural problems, research suggests.

A new study from Oxford University found that a father's emotional attachment and strong bond with a child - as opposed to how much practical child care they carried out - had the strongest effect on whether a child suffered problems.

Experts looked at markers of involvement such as fathers being confident with their child, forming a strong bond, feeling fulfilled and parenthood making them feel closer to their partner.

The researchers, writing in the journal BMJ Open, concluded it is psychological and emotional aspects of paternal involvement in a child's infancy that are most powerful in influencing later child behaviour.

"How new fathers see themselves as parents, how they value their role as a parent and how they adjust to this new role, rather than the amount of direct involvement in child care in this period, appears to be associated with positive behavioural outcomes in children," researchers said.

"Involved fathers may influence children indirectly by being a source of instrumental and emotional support to mothers who provide more of the direct care for children," researchers said.

"Greater paternal involvement may also lead to or be a manifestation of a happy and cohesive family, and this may bring about better outcomes in children."

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