Friday, January 25th, 2013
Fathers who are egalitarian in their attitudes toward gender roles may raise daughters who have higher career ambitions than those with more gender-traditional dads. More from LiveScience.com:
The research is correlational, so it doesn’t prove that fathers’ attitudes are the cause their young daughters’ work aspirations. But the research may suggest that girls look to their fathers for examples of what is expected of women. Dads’ attitudes also predict what kind of play their daughters enjoy.
“Dads who are more balanced have girls who are just as likely to play with Transformers as Barbie dolls,” study researcher Toni Schmader, a psychologist at the University of British Columbia said here Friday (Jan. 18) at the annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology.
Image: Father and daughter baking, via Shutterstock
Friday, December 21st, 2012
New research is finding that oxytocin, the hormone that brings about feelings of love, connection, and belonging in relationships, may help fathers bond better with their children. More from Time.com:
“In a study published in Biological Psychiatry, 35 fathers played with their five month old daughters, once after being given a nasal spray containing either oxytocin and again after being given a placebo. Each time, they were instructed to engage in a task called the “still face” paradigm, which produces a small, heart-tugging drama. Researchers measured oxytocin levels in both the dads and their babies before and after the exercise.
First, the father smiles and plays with the baby, who sits in an infant seat facing him. Then he keeps his face blank and expressionless, refusing to respond as the infant makes increasingly worried attempts to re-engage him. After a few minutes of watching but ignoring the child’s distress, the dad resumes a more loving expression and reassures baby that all is well.
After receiving oxytocin, the fathers were generally more responsive to their little girls— almost certainly having a harder time keeping their faces blank during the “still face” and consequently responding far more quickly when instructed to re-engage. Under the influence of the hormone, the dads made more eye contact, provided more touch, had more mirroring and reciprocal interactions and indulged in more baby talk than after receiving placebo.
Their babies also tended to respond more to their dads who had received the oxytocin sprays—with increased smiles, laughter, mirroring and play behavior—compared to their behavior when their dads were receiving the placebo. Their own oxytocin rose in near perfect sync with the elevation of the hormone occurring in their fathers.”
Wednesday, September 19th, 2012
Rupert Everett, who is best known for his role in the movie “My Best Friend’s Wedding,” is taking criticism for comments he made suggesting that gay fathers aren’t suited to the job. From HLN:
Everett, who came out more than two decades ago, went on to say, “She thinks children need a father and a mother and I agree with her.” He then went on to say, “I can’t think of anything worse than being brought up by two gay dads.”
“Some people might not agree with that. Fine! That’s just my opinion,” said Everett, who also said he doesn’t consider himself part of the gay community.
GLAAD President Herndon Graddick said in a statement, “Since Everett shared his outdated opinion, gay parents, as well as their friends and families, have voiced overwhelming disappointment. Children aren’t hurt when raised by caring gay parents, but they are when uninformed people in the public eye insult their families.”
Image: Rupert Everett, via s_bukley / Shutterstock.com
Monday, September 10th, 2012
Fathers might not carry babies in their wombs or breastfeed them or even change all that many diapers–but scientists are learning more and more about the myriad levels of influence dads have on their children. A New York Times op-ed by science editor Judith Shulevitz reads, in part:
Before I began reading up on fathers and their influence on future generations, I had a high-school-biology-level understanding of how a man passes his traits on to his child. His sperm and the mother’s egg smash into each other, his sperm tosses in one set of chromosomes, the egg tosses in another, and a child’s genetic future is set for life. Physical features: check. Character: check. Cognitive style: check. But the pathways of inheritance, I’ve learned, are subtler and more varied than that. Genes matter, and culture matters, and how fathers behave matters, too.
Lately scientists have become obsessed with a means of inheritance that isn’t genetic but isn’t nongenetic either. It’s epigenetic. “Epi,” in Greek, means “above” or “beyond.” Think of epigenetics as the way our bodies modify their genetic makeup. Epigenetics describes how genes are turned on or off, in part through compounds that hitch on top of DNA — or else jump off it — determining whether it makes the proteins that tell our bodies what to do.
In the past decade or so, the study of epigenetics has become so popular it’s practically a fad. Psychologists and sociologists particularly like it because gene expression or suppression is to some degree dictated by the environment and plays at least as large a role as genes do in the development of a person’s temperament, body shape and predisposition to disease. I’ve become obsessed with epigenetics because it strikes me as both game-changing and terrifying. Our genes can be switched on or off by three environmental factors, among other things: what we ingest (food, drink, air, toxins); what we experience (stress, trauma); and how long we live.
Image: Father and son, via Shutterstock
Wednesday, June 13th, 2012
A study that put dollar values to household tasks that are typically done by either women or men gave more financial worth to those done by mothers than by fathers. MSNBC.com reports:
Insure.com calculated what they deemed to be daddy duties, including things such as barbecuing, killing bugs and mowing the lawn. The study found the domestic tasks would total about $20,248 a year if they were paid work. That compared to $60,182 annually for moms for doing things such as cooking, cleaning and nursing wounds. The value of the work was based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for how much similar jobs out in the real work world would pay.
Another study by Salary.com found that the value of what working dads do at home is actually rising. The company looked at online responses from nearly 3,000 dads who reported on the number of hours they put into tasks at home, including everything from cooking to driving kids around, and found the value of what the dads did jumped to $36,757 this year from $33,858 the previous year. A previous study of work done by working moms found what the moms do at home is valued at $66,979, compared to $63,471 in 2011.
Image: Woman making sandwiches, via Shutterstock.