New study measures impact of fathers on child behavior

Father’s interactions with their babies, as young as 3 months old, influence whether a child will develop behavioral challenges by 1 year old according to a recent study published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

A behavior questionnaire was given to 192 two-parent families, followed up by researchers reevaluating the infants when they reached 1 year old. According to the study results, children with behavioral issues were children whose fathers were distracted, while infants of fathers whom were attentive and engaging performed the best.

The lead author, Dr. Paul Ramchandani, suggests that the effect fathers have on the children’s behavior was just as, or more impactful than that of the mother. Ramchandani, a researcher and clinical psychiatrist, said that although there may be elements of the research that have yet been determined, there is a definite link between disengaged fathers and behavioral problems in children.