December 20, 2013

Most dads very involved in hands-on parenting

The study of 4,000 fathers ages 15 to 44 shows their involvement has increased slightly since 2002.

The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

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More academic success, fewer behavior problems and healthier eating habits are just some of the ways fathers’ involvement has been linked with children’s well-being.

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The survey suggests black fathers may be more involved than whites or Hispanics with some activities, including homework, but Jones downplayed racial differences and said some were not statistically significant.

Men with at least some college education were generally more involved with their kids than less educated fathers.

The CDC did a similar survey in 2002 that showed slightly less father involvement. Previous CDC surveys relied only on mothers' responses about family life so aren't comparable.

A national parenting survey by University of Maryland researchers found that in 2000, married U.S. fathers spent about two hours weekly interacting with their kids aged 18 and younger, more than double the time spent in 1965.

Dr. David Hill, a Wilmington, N.C., pediatrician and author of "Dad to Dad: Parenting Like a Pro," said the survey echoes what he's seen among his patients' fathers. Increasingly, fathers rather than mothers take their kids to the doctor, he said. Some "are anxious about changing a diaper," he said, but the study offers reassuring evidence "that everybody's doing this."

Men weren't asked about employment, or whether they were stay-at-home dads, who still are rare though their ranks have increased. Census numbers show almost 190,000 nationwide last year versus 93,000 in 2000. Those numbers only include men whose wives have been employed for at least one year

Loftus, the New York stay-at-home dad, said he feels lucky to be able to be such a hands-on father.

"I'm doing the most important job in the world," he said.

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