The Science behind Father-Child Relationship
It is often said that a child brings women the greatest happiness and contentment in life. The world is rife with quotes and sayings about a mother’s love such as “A mother holds a child’s hand for a moment and their heart for a lifetime” and “God could not be everywhere, so he created mothers.”
The father-child relationship
The father-child relationship however, unfairly so, receives more negative attention, perpetuated by the media through stereotypes about ‘deadbeat dads’ or old fashion notions such as ‘distant fathers’. However, science has come to the father’s rescue and recent research about father-child relationships suggest that many of these stereotypes are well, simply that, stereotypes!
Today I let science take the lead in shedding insight regarding the bond between a father and child. Surprise, surprise! Researchers have discovered that children make men very happy, happier than women, in fact as well as men that don’t have children.
Men with children
Even better news is that men with children living in the same household as their children seem to have more positive social interactions, are more involved in community activities like attending church, have a deeper sense of connection to their families, and spend fewer working hours away from them. What this translates into is essentially more positive relationships and feelings for everyone that come in contact with these men specifically, their spouses, children, friends, and immediate community. Research also shows that men with children have a better moral compass and deeper spiritual well-being than men without children.
According to a poll done by Pew Research Center, 60% of men with children define “very meaningful time” as time spent with their children while 46% say that they wished for more time with their children. These statistics seem to turn our stereotypes about fathers upside down. Men today obviously desire a more meaningful relationship with their child, which then has a positive domino effect on their other relationships.
To dispel the notion that men parent from a distance, records show that the number of hours a father spent taking care of his child in 1965 averaged at 2.5 hours a week, while in 2011 the number was 7 hours.
So far I’ve painted a pretty picture about the relationship between fathers and children, but fatherhood has its stressful moments. Fathers tend to feel the most stressed during pregnancies and are more likely to stray during this phase than other phases in their marriage or partnership due to the effect pregnancy has on his sex life. Hence, it’s important that a couple already has strong foundation together and open lines of communication, before they start building a family.
However, it heartening that studies show that when children are born in a stable environment, not only does it bring contentment to a mother, but also to a father. In situations where fathers are highly involved, not only are fathers more fulfilled but reports show that junior is more likely to have higher IQ levels, do better at school and work habits, enjoy better relationships, have fewer incidents of risky behavior, is less likely to be bullied and is happier as well as less depressed and anxious.
So men who have been sitting on the fence debating about whether or not to have a child, go ahead and take the plunge if you have a strong and stable family environment and you’ll be more content than you are sitting on the fence and mulling away. As for junior, when you thrive, he thrives too! If you need that extra bit of convincing, well then, let science do the talking!