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How involved should dads be in their kids' lives?

When Texas couples divorce and often proceed to live in different households, questions about which parent a child lives with may arise. Many people associate mothers with being the nurturing parent, starting before the birth and continuing through adolescence. However, one science writer who did a survey on fatherhood, based on scientific research, may reveal just how important father involvement is in a child's life.

The survey states that beginning in the womb, a fetus is able to take in more nutrients because of certain genes inherited from the father. After birth, a father's presence may also help improve a child's vocabulary, as mothers may often be more in tune with their child's language set, using words that the child is more familiar with.

Fathers who are not present in their child's life, especially for girls, may cause a more dramatic effect during adolescence. According to the survey, daughters of absent fathers went through puberty about a year sooner than girls whose fathers were present in their lives. According to the man who conducted the survey, fathers who are distant from their children may be a contributor to early sexual development for girls.

A perhaps historic view about fathers is that their biggest contribution to a child's life is financial stability. While many fathers continue to be the sole bread-winners for families, it is not true for some families, and is certainly not considered to be the "norm" these days. According to the survey, aside from financial stability, fathers are important to a child's social and emotional development - aside from monetary needs.

Despite which parent the child lives with after a divorce, this survey touches on some of the reasons why it is important for a child to have contact with their father - especially if the mother is the sole-managing conservatorship. Dads are entitled to certain fathers' rights, which may include seeking child custody and child visitation modifications.

Source: Vox, "How dads improve their kids' lives, according to science," Eleanor Barkhorn, June 14, 2014

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