England–Dads matter. The latest research study showing this has just come rolling in from England (thanks to Jeremy Swanson for calling our attention to it).
Published in the summer of 2008, this study looked at all the children born in Britain in a single week in March, 1958. When the children were eleven years old (1969), the mothers were asked, “How involved is the father in the management of the child?’ In the same year, the children took an IQ test. Finally, the researchers looked at the children”s upward social mobility at age 42 (year 2000).
The researchers found some very interesting results:
• The fathers” involvement in 1969 was “equal to mother’ in 62 percent of the cases;
• Children with high father involvement had significantly higher IQs at age 11 than those with low father involvement;
• By age 42, children with high father involvement had shown substantially more upward mobility than those with low father involvement;
• Fathers tended to be slightly more involved with sons than daughters, but when they did engage equally with daughters, the positive effect was just as great as for sons.
It”s interesting to see that so many of the fathers” involvement was “equal to mothers’ in 1969. The reigning myth is that fathers have become involved with their children only recently. So often I hear, “Well, of course custody used to go to mom, but now fathers are getting more involved with their kids — it”s just taking a little time for the law to catch up.’
Personally, I don”t like hearing my father or his generation criticized when I know how hard they worked for us. Keep this in mind the next time a television “expert’ tells you that fathers in past generations neglected their kids. Keep this in mind when you watch Mad Men.
The next time the judge tells you it”s not in your child”s best interest for you to have more time with her, ask why a higher IQ and more upward mobility is not in her best interest.
And by the way, guys, don”t neglect your daughters just because they are less interested in throwing a football around. They need you as much as your sons do.
Tell us how your influence has helped your children below.