Do Fathers Matter?: What Science Is Telling Us About the Parent We've Overlooked

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For too long, we've thought of fathers as little more than sources of authority and economic stability in the lives of their children. Yet cutting-edge studies drawing unexpected links between fathers and children are forcing us to reconsider our assumptions and ask new questions: What changes occur in men when they are "expecting"? Do fathers affect their children's language development? What are the risks and rewards of being an older-than-average father at the time the child is born? What happens to a father's hormone levels at every stage of his child's development, and can a child influence the father's health? Just how much do fathers matter?
In Do Fathers Matter? the award-winning journalist and father of five Paul Raeburn overturns the many myths and stereotypes of fatherhood as he examines the latest scientific findings on the parent we've often overlooked. Drawing on research from neuroscientists, animal behaviorists, geneticists, and developmental psychologists, among others, Raeburn takes us through the various stages of fatherhood, revealing the profound physiological connections between children and fathers, from conception through adolescence and into adulthood—and the importance of the relationship between mothers and fathers. In the process, he challenges the legacy of Freud and mainstream views of parental attachment, and also explains how we can become better parents ourselves.
Ultimately, Raeburn shows how the role of the father is distinctly different from that of the mother, and that embracing fathers' significance in the lives of young people is something we can all benefit from. An engrossing, eye-opening, and deeply personal book that makes a case for a new perspective on the importance of fathers in our lives no matter what our family structure, Do Fathers Matter? will change the way we view fatherhood today.
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About the author

Paul Raeburn is the chief media critic for the Knight Science Journalism Tracker site at MIT. His recent books include Acquainted with the Night: A Parent's Quest to Understand Depression and Bipolar Disorder in His Children. He writes the About Fathers blog for Psychology Today and is a regular guest on NPR. Raeburn was formerly the science editor at BusinessWeek and the Associated Press. His work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Discover, and Scientific American, among other publications. A past president of the National Association of Science Writers, he lives in New York City with his wife and children.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Scientific American / Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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Published on
Jun 3, 2014
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Pages
288
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ISBN
9780374710828
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Language
English
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Genres
Family & Relationships / Parenting / Fatherhood
Psychology / Developmental / General
Social Science / Men's Studies
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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This second edition reviews the new research findings and theoretical advances on fathers, families, child development, programs, and policies that have occurred in the past decade. Contributors from a range of disciplines and countries showcase contemporary findings within a new common chapter structure. All of the chapters are either extensively revised or entirely new. Biological, evolutionary, demographic, developmental, cultural, sociological, economic, and legal perspectives of father involvement are described along with policy and program implications. Now with a greater international perspective, this edition considers demographic shifts in families in the United States and Europe.

All chapters now follow a common structure to enhance readability and interdisciplinary connections. Each chapter features: Historical Overview and Theoretical Perspectives; Research Questions; Research Methods and Measurement; Empirical Findings; Bridges to other Disciplines; Policy Implications; and Future Directions. In addition, each chapter highlights universal and cultural processes and mechanisms. This structure illuminates the ways that theories, methods, and findings are guided by disciplinary lenses and encourages multidisciplinary perspectives.

This extensively revised edition now features:

• Expanded section on Biological and Evolutionary Perspectives that reviews fathering in animal populations and the genetic and hormonal underpinnings that feed into fathering behaviors within and across species.
• New section on Economic and Legal Perspectives that addresses the economics of fatherhood, marriage, divorce, and child custody issues, and family dispute resolution.
• New section on Child Development and Family Processes that covers topics on father-child relationships, the father’ role in children’s language, cognitive, and social development, and father risk, family context, and co-parenting.
• Separate chapters on Black, Latino, and Asian American fathers.
• Now includes research on cohabitation and parenting, gender roles and fathering, intergenerational parenting, and fatherhood implications for men in the section on Sociological Perspectives.
• The latest demographics, policies, and programs influencing father involvement in both the US and Europe.
• Coverage of methodological and measurement topics and processes that are universal across ethnic groups and cultures in each chapter.

Intended for advanced students, practitioners, policymakers, and researchers interested in fatherhood and family processes from a variety of disciplines including psychology, family studies, economics, sociology, and social work, and anyone interested in child and family policy.

What happens to a little girl who grows up without a father? Can she ever feel truly loved and fully alive? Does she ever heal—or is she doomed to live a wounded, fragmented life and to pass her wounds down to her own children? Fatherlessness afflicts nearly half the households in America, and it has reached epidemic proportions in the African-American community, with especially devastating consequences for black women. In this powerful, searingly intimate book, accomplished journalist, poet, and fiction writer Jonetta Rose Barras breaks the code of silence and gives voice to the experiences of America's fatherless women—starting with herself.

"We are legions—a choir of wounded—listen to the dirge we sing," writes Barras of the millions of black women like her who lost, either through abandonment, rejection, poverty, or death, the men who gave them life. A father is the first man in a girl's life—the first man to look in her eyes, protect her, care for her, love her unconditionally. Fathers fashion their daughters as expertly and as powerfully as they do their sons. When a girl loses this man, she grows up with an ache that nothing else can soothe. Psychologists have found that fatherless daughters are far more likely to suffer from debilitating rage, depression, abuse, and addictions; they tend to seek "sexual healing" through promiscuity or anti-intimate behavior and end up fearing or despising the men whose love they crave.

Barras knows from personal experience the traps and the fury of being a black fatherless daughter, and she makes her own life story the heart and soul of her book, alternating chapters of spellbinding memoir with the stories she has gathered from women all over the country.

Passionate and shockingly frank, Whatever Happened to Daddy's Little Girl is the first book to explore the plight of America's fatherless daughters from the unique perspective of the African-American community. Like Hope Edelman's New York Times bestseller Motherless Daughters, this brilliant volume gives all fatherless daughters the knowledge that they are not alone and the courage to overcome the hidden pain they have suffered for so long.
FINALIST FOR THE BOOKS FOR A BETTER LIFE AWARD • NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

"Parents . . . you will be wowed and awed by [Dr. Shefali]." —Oprah Winfrey

As seen on Oprah’s SuperSoul Sunday, a radically transformative plan that shows parents how to raise children to be their best, truest selves, from the New York Times bestselling author of The Conscious Parent.

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In the tradition of Kay Redfield Jamison’s An Unquiet Mind, Acquainted with the Night is a powerful memoir of one man’s struggle to deal with the adolescent depression and bipolar disorder of his son and his daughter.

Seven years ago Paul Raeburn’s son, Alex, eleven, was admitted to a psychiatric hospital after leaving his fifth-grade classroom in an inexplicable rage. He was hospitalized three times over the next three years until he was finally diagnosed by a psychiatrist as someone exhibiting a clear-cut case of bipolar disorder. This ended a painful period of misdiagnosis and inappropriate drug therapy. Then Raeburn’s younger daughter, Alicia, twelve, was diagnosed as suffering from depression after episodes of self-mutilation and suicidal thoughts. She too was repeatedly admitted to psychiatric hospitals. All during this terrible, painful time, Raeburn’s marriage was disintegrating, and he had to ask what he and his wife might have done, unwittingly, to contribute to their children’s mental illness. And so, literally to save his children’s lives, he used all the resources available to him as a science reporter and writer to educate himself on their diseases and the various drugs and therapies available to help them return from a land of inner torment.

In Paul Raeburn’s skilled hands, this memoir of a family stricken with the pain of depression and mania becomes a cathartic story that any reader can share, even as parents unlucky enough to be in a similar position will find it of immeasurable practical value in their own struggles with the child psychiatry establishment.
“I absolutely loved this book, both as a parent and as a nerd.” —Jessica Lahey, author of The Gift of Failure

As every parent knows, kids are surprisingly clever negotiators. But how can we avoid those all-too-familiar wails of “That’s not fair!” and “You can’t make me!”? In The Game Theorist’s Guide to Parenting, the award-winning journalist and father of five Paul Raeburn and the game theorist Kevin Zollman pair up to highlight tactics from the worlds of economics and business that can help parents break the endless cycle of quarrels and ineffective solutions. Raeburn and Zollman show that some of the same strategies successfully applied to big business deals and politics—such as the Prisoner’s Dilemma and the Ultimatum Game—can be used to solve such titanic, age-old parenting problems as dividing up toys, keeping the peace on long car rides, and sticking to homework routines.

Raeburn and Zollman open each chapter with a common parenting dilemma. Then they show how carefully concocted schemes involving bargains and fair incentives can save the day. Through smart case studies of game theory in action, Raeburn and Zollman reveal how parents and children devise strategies, where those strategies go wrong, and what we can do to help raise happy and savvy kids while keeping the rest of the family happy too.

Delightfully witty, refreshingly irreverent, and just a bit Machiavellian, The Game Theorist’s Guide to Parenting looks past the fads to offer advice you can put into action today.

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