Father-Child Relationships and Children’s Social and Emotional Development
The study of parents’ contributions to children’s social-emotional development has a long history in developmental psychology. However, the bulk of this research has focused on mothers’ contributions and neglected those of fathers. This continued focus on mothers conflicts with the fact that today’s fathers are more involved in childrearing than their fathers or grandfathers, and that theoretical perspectives (e.g., family systems theory) emphasize the importance of considering multiple family relationships and their interconnections to best understand children’s social-emotional development. This talk will outline my program of research on father-child relationships, which has focused on (1) revealing the ways in which the quality and quantity of fathers’ parenting behavior contribute to children’s social and emotional development, and (2) explaining why some fathers demonstrate higher-quality parenting behavior and greater engagement in parenting than other fathers. I will conclude with a description of current projects and future research directions.