Monday, November 19, 2007

UK Study Says SAHDs Screw Up Their Sons

An astute reader sent along this piece from the Daily Mail about a study (which I found here) on the impact of fathers on kids educational success in the UK. On the bright side, having dad around seemed to lead to better behavior. But the real sound and fury seems to come from this conclusion:
The one note of caution regarding trends towards gender equality in childcare responsibilities sounded by this study relates to the academic skills of boys who experience more than 15 hours a week of paternal care when they are toddlers. Boys experiencing this type of paternal care score significantly worse of tests at entry to school, and the magnitude of this effects is non-trivial.
And, adding insult to injury:
Our analysis points strongly towards the idea that fathers do not, on average, provide the same degree of cognitive stimulation to sons that mothers provide.
Confusingly, the report doesn't seem to show this effect at any other time point:
One finding of note is that we find no evidence of negative effects of paternal care on the outcomes of boys prior to school entry, nor on Key Stage 1 scores at age 6 to 7.
The conclusion that dads are messing up their sons flies in the face of everything I believe (and everything I've read, for that matter), but I'm not an academic, so I'm pretty limited in my ability to call foul on this. I've asked a couple of people smarter than I for their opinion, and I'll let you know what I find out.

[UPDATE: Apparently I'm not crazy to be ticked (or to think this is questionable). More coming.]

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