Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Yup, Dads are Important

I read a release yesterday about an interesting new study, and it makes me a little uncomfortable to post about it, but here goes (I'll get to the discomfort in a moment):

According to the folks from UNC, in families with two go-to-work parents, the vocabulary that *fathers* used with their toddlers was linked to improved language skills.

I'm thrilled to see evidence that fathers do indeed play a crucial role in the intellectual lives of their kids. But the reason the release makes me uncomfortable is that I really don't like to see dads pitted against moms, as if there is a secret family formula that will automatically lead to great kids. But to the extent that there is a takeaway message, it's that fathers needs to be studied just as carefully as mothers when it comes to development
"Most previous studies on early language development focused on mothers," said Nadya Panscofar, a graduate research assistant and an author of the study. "These findings underscore that for two-parent, dual earner families, fathers should be included in all efforts to improve language development and school readiness."

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