Fathers Don't Mother and Mothers Don't Father: What Social Science Research Indicates about the Distinctive Contributions of Mothers and Fathers to Children's Development
30 Pages Posted: 6 Nov 2014 Last revised: 18 Apr 2015
Date Written: April 18, 2015
This paper provides a review of the substantial body of research exploring possible distinctions in the contributions of mothers and fathers to children’s development. Research findings indicate distinctive contributions from mothers and fathers in the developmental domains of social-emotional, cognitive, sexual identity development as well as the protection and safety of children. Although fathers and mothers bring many similar capacities that enable healthy child development, they also retain distinctive, gendered capacities that provide unique and complementary contributions to children’s development. These parenting differences appear to enable fathers and mothers to influence the same developmental domains through distinct process-based pathways, that together benefit children’s development in unique, significant, and often complementary ways.
Keywords: mothers, fathers, gender-differentiated parenting, children's development
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