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Fathers as caregivers

Approximately 80 percent of men will become biological fathers at some point in their lives, and virtually all men have some connection to children – as relatives, as teachers, as coaches, or simply as community members. Whether they are biological fathers, stepfathers, adoptive or foster fathers, or legal guardians; whether they are brothers, uncles, or grandfathers; whether they are in same-sex or opposite-sex relationships; and whether they live with their children or not, men’s participation in the daily care of others has a lasting influence on the lives of children, women, and men, and an enduring impact on the world around them.

As men take on more caregiving, research increasingly confirms that fathers’ involvement affects children in much the same ways that mothers’ involvement does. Fathers’ involvement has been linked to higher cognitive development and school achievement, better mental health for boys and girls, and lower rates of delinquency in sons. Studies in multiple countries have shown that fathers’ interaction is important for the development of empathy and social skills in sons and daughters.

Photo: Sebastian Rich/Save the Children

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