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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 langu 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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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 langu 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.

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

  1. 5 out of 5

    Mara

    This book should be called "Why Fathers Matter". I was expecting some debate around the topic instead of endless recaps of studies proving the importance of fathers. The book is also quite dry. It reads just like what it is: an admittedly biased recount of research (and lack there of) written by a medical journalist who is also a father. Maybe if you keep all that in mind going into the book, it will appeal to some audiences. This book should be called "Why Fathers Matter". I was expecting some debate around the topic instead of endless recaps of studies proving the importance of fathers. The book is also quite dry. It reads just like what it is: an admittedly biased recount of research (and lack there of) written by a medical journalist who is also a father. Maybe if you keep all that in mind going into the book, it will appeal to some audiences.

  2. 5 out of 5

    D.R. Oestreicher

    Think of a father in popular culture. I'm guessing that that father is comically inept (Homer Simpson, Uncle Vernon Dursley, George McFly, Archie Bunker, Jim Baker in 16 Candles, or Harry Wormwood in Mathilda). This book uses the latest science research to correct popular misconceptions. Science writing presents two challenges. The first is to translate science for the general public to make it clear, interesting, and relevant. In this, Raeburn finds the Goldilocks middle where the research is pr Think of a father in popular culture. I'm guessing that that father is comically inept (Homer Simpson, Uncle Vernon Dursley, George McFly, Archie Bunker, Jim Baker in 16 Candles, or Harry Wormwood in Mathilda). This book uses the latest science research to correct popular misconceptions. Science writing presents two challenges. The first is to translate science for the general public to make it clear, interesting, and relevant. In this, Raeburn finds the Goldilocks middle where the research is presented, but doesn't get bogged down in the mind-numbing detail that is the foundation and structure of all science. The second challenge is the dynamic nature of scientific knowledge. Science is always moving forward, so what is accepted today, might not be accepted tomorrow. Much of this book is about presenting new research to debunk the accepted wisdom of fatherhood past. For example, it has long been assumed it would be possible the combine the genetic material from two women to produce a viable fetus. The story always included the detail that since women had two x-chromosomes, the child would necessarily have two x-chromosomes, and thus be female. As reported by Raeburn, this parthenogenesis turns out to be impossible. Recent science has shown that both males and females contribute unique and vital genetic material, so a new life is not possible with contributions from both sexes. On the other hand, Raeburn repeats that story about children needing years of post-natal support because no bigger head could pass through the birth canal, and if the birth canal was any bigger women would not be able to walk properly. You've probably heard this story yourself. However, recent research finds that women can walk fine (thank you) even with broader hips. This research suggests that the baby is born at the point where the mother can no longer eat enough to supports the baby's energy requirements. Science marches forward, and even the best science writers have difficulty keeping up with all the research. I can easily recommend this book to those thinking about becoming parents, parents of all ages, and even grand parents. For more see: http://1book42day.blogspot.com/2015/0...

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Lahey

    I adored this book, and have recommended it many times in the past couple of months. Great research on why fathers are so important for just about every aspect of childhood development.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Tony Kauffmann

    too much about mice, not enough about people

  5. 4 out of 5

    Abbey

    Raeburn summarizes research on the influence of fathers. I think readers on both the right and left will find his writing fair. Some reviewers found it too scientific, but I really enjoyed it. Chapters I found especially interesting: fathers' influence on their teenage daughters, and research on the risks and rewards from older fathers. 4.5/5 stars! Raeburn summarizes research on the influence of fathers. I think readers on both the right and left will find his writing fair. Some reviewers found it too scientific, but I really enjoyed it. Chapters I found especially interesting: fathers' influence on their teenage daughters, and research on the risks and rewards from older fathers. 4.5/5 stars!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Wyatt Graham

    Great—would have five stars had Raeburn more clearly and specifically pointed to the conclusions of the data he was using. The narrative format, which somewhat creates this minor problem, made for a good read, however. In any case, read it!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jaclyn

    This was a really informative book that addresses the science behind whether or not fathers matter. Fathers are often downplayed in our society, and in this book, Raeburn presents many of the scientific studies out there that deal with this subject matter to try to determine what effect a father has on his child's life. The book is very scientific and a bit dry at times. It presents a lot of facts and research, which do run into each other and can become a bit repetitive. But it was very informa This was a really informative book that addresses the science behind whether or not fathers matter. Fathers are often downplayed in our society, and in this book, Raeburn presents many of the scientific studies out there that deal with this subject matter to try to determine what effect a father has on his child's life. The book is very scientific and a bit dry at times. It presents a lot of facts and research, which do run into each other and can become a bit repetitive. But it was very informative and interesting, with some parts being more interesting than others. Raeburn does a good job of breaking down the science so it's easy to understand, and of explaining what various studies involving mice tell us about fathers. The book explores a lot of topics, including how the absence of a father can affect a child, how an attentive father can influence his child sociability in later years, and how older or unhealthy fathers can impact the health of his child. Overall, a very informative read that I think would benefit men and women that have children or plan to have children, so they can better understand the role a father plays in his child's life.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Paul Raeburn gathers the small amount of current research we have on fathers and their contributions to the health and well-being of their children. Spoiler alert--of course fathers matter! But researchers have been so focused on the mother/child relationship that the father/child research looks pretty anemic. In essence, mothers tend to reinforce behavior, teaching children by day to day repetition, while fathers tend to employ destabilizing play, which helps children learn to regulate their em Paul Raeburn gathers the small amount of current research we have on fathers and their contributions to the health and well-being of their children. Spoiler alert--of course fathers matter! But researchers have been so focused on the mother/child relationship that the father/child research looks pretty anemic. In essence, mothers tend to reinforce behavior, teaching children by day to day repetition, while fathers tend to employ destabilizing play, which helps children learn to regulate their emotions and behavior whenever life throws them a curve ball. I would highly recommend this book to mothers, who may be inclined to take over most of the child-rearing in their family. There are many good reasons to keep fathers in the child-care loop. The author clearly states that there is no wrong way to construct a family. Children without fathers or male influences are not doomed. He simply hopes to bring attention to the lack of scientific study of the father/child relationship.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Will

    Overall, I thought it was a good review of the literature about fathers. Most of the stuff was either common-sense or studies I've heard about elsewhere, but it was still good to see it collected. There's a little bit too much of "this should be studied more" all over the place -- in most cases, it is probably true, but it gets a little old reading it over and over. His writing about same-sex parents, unmarried parents, and single mothers was a little one-dimensional and not really as fleshed out Overall, I thought it was a good review of the literature about fathers. Most of the stuff was either common-sense or studies I've heard about elsewhere, but it was still good to see it collected. There's a little bit too much of "this should be studied more" all over the place -- in most cases, it is probably true, but it gets a little old reading it over and over. His writing about same-sex parents, unmarried parents, and single mothers was a little one-dimensional and not really as fleshed out as it could be. Even though the book takes a pretty even tone, some of the research mentioned also seemed to be sponsored by organizations with an agenda to push (e.g., fundamentalist Christian organizations sponsoring research about the benefits of "traditional" families).

  10. 4 out of 5

    Alisi ☆ wants to read too many books ☆

    This book was okay. As a disclaimer, I'm a woman and I don't have any children. Part of my 'meh' about this book was the fact that I just don't understand where the author was coming from when writing this book. I've never, ever heard of anyone saying that fathers are useless and that they don't matter. I've never heard that. In fact, I've heard quite the opposite: that is, there's all those campaigns to get men to have more involvement because they do matter so much. Certainly, men have been bar This book was okay. As a disclaimer, I'm a woman and I don't have any children. Part of my 'meh' about this book was the fact that I just don't understand where the author was coming from when writing this book. I've never, ever heard of anyone saying that fathers are useless and that they don't matter. I've never heard that. In fact, I've heard quite the opposite: that is, there's all those campaigns to get men to have more involvement because they do matter so much. Certainly, men have been barred from delivery rooms in the past and women do tend to get the children during divorce but no system is perfect.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Brigid Schulte

    Reveals the "Maternal Instinct" is the myth we've believed in for so long - shows solid science on the long overlooked role of fathers and how fatherhood changes men - and just how powerful the "Paternal Instinct is." Eye-opening, powerful, and important. Reveals the "Maternal Instinct" is the myth we've believed in for so long - shows solid science on the long overlooked role of fathers and how fatherhood changes men - and just how powerful the "Paternal Instinct is." Eye-opening, powerful, and important.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Nigel Shenton

    https://sent-on.weebly.com/metropolit... https://sent-on.weebly.com/metropolit...

  13. 4 out of 5

    Louis Vigo

    What is it that fathers do for their children? How much do fathers matter? And what do children do for their fathers? As recently as a generation ago, in the 1970’s most psychologists and other “experts” had an easy answer to that question: not much. With regard in infants, especially, fathers were thought to have little or no role to play. In 1976, Michael E Lamb a developmental psychologist and pioneer in research on fathers, wrote that the emphasis on mothers in infants’ development was so on What is it that fathers do for their children? How much do fathers matter? And what do children do for their fathers? As recently as a generation ago, in the 1970’s most psychologists and other “experts” had an easy answer to that question: not much. With regard in infants, especially, fathers were thought to have little or no role to play. In 1976, Michael E Lamb a developmental psychologist and pioneer in research on fathers, wrote that the emphasis on mothers in infants’ development was so one-sided that it seemed as if “the father is an almost irrelevant entity in the infant’s social world.” For decades, psychologists had assumed that the mother-infant relationship is unique and vastly more important than any contemporaneous, or indeed any subsequent, relationships.” The attachment to this nurturing and protective adult was supposed to give the infant an evolutionary advantage—even Darwin had endorsed this exclusive focus onto mother, the experts claimed, and who was going to argue with Darwin. It wasn't that scientist had studied and researched and found that mothers were the most integral component in an infants life—there actually was no research done to come to such a conclusion! Even today the research is still vastly lopsided. The author doesn't go into speculative territory about why this is the case, but he does show a lot of the implications that research on Fatherhood shows to have healthier kids and is good for the wife too. But its also good for the man. Raeburn shows lab data and clinical studies showing that fathers are an integral part of the healthy development of a child starting during the pregnancy period, where men go through hormonal changes along with their wives. But the biggest factor in the healthy development of the child if the father realizing that he does matter. There are good fathers and there are bad fathers. But a father who doesn't realize he matters, while he may not be a bad fathers, he wont rise to being a good father. Men that gave more time and energy towards involvement in fatherhood had higher self-esteem then those who didn’t. Cortisol (stress) levels in a child’s brain development is affected by nurturing fathers. Kids who felt their fathers had their back were more likely to have drive and ambition; vs those who felt they were on their own, who were stressed, were less likely to take risks in life later on. When a father had a warm relationship with his son, that son would grow up to be more like his father than sons who were not close to their fathers. A fathers own masculinity was irrelevant: his warmth and closeness with his son was the key factor Interactions bet fathers and their sons and daughters that are playful, affectionate, and engaging predict later popularity in school and among peers, perhaps by teaching children to read emotional expressions on their fathers faces, and later on those of their peer group. Researchers found a wide variety of beneficial social and psychological effects stemming from father’s direct engagement with their children. Children whose fathers played with them, read to them, took them on outings, and help to care for them had fewer behavioral problems in the early school years, and less likelihood of delinquency or criminal behavior as adolescence. Another particularly stunning result: fathers reading to seven-year-old girls and asking 16-year-old girls about school helped to prevent depression and other psychological ailments in the kids decades later. I wonder how fatherhood in the 50’s and 60’s affected that generation. The fathers were told indirectly that they didn't matter very much—that their biggest contribution was that of a bread-winner. Mothers would nurture and raise the children, after all they had the sacred bond with they child, not the father. But the mothers were stressed out and many were closet valium addicts, perhaps as a result of not enough help at home. After all this was the builder generation after WWII and they had a mission… to realize the American Dream. But is the dream empty or is it merely incomplete? Perhaps the American Dream is only realized when men and women are valued for their unique contributions to their families and society, different but equal. Paul Raeburn doesn't get interpret the data like that, thats up for the reader to decide. But he does show clearly that fathers do matter, and are necessary for a healthy family. But that also, children are integral for the healthy development for males to become men.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Cassandra Fay

    I've wanted to read this book for a long time, I've owned it for a long time, and since being laid off from my job, the end of this year has been a very productive reading period for me. This book was not *exactly* what I thought it was when I first purchased it, I had a very... I suppose, conventional upbringing, but when I was growing up, my father, as unfortunate it is to say, was in almost all regards, a horrible father and husband. He had his moments of course, no one is inherently bad or g I've wanted to read this book for a long time, I've owned it for a long time, and since being laid off from my job, the end of this year has been a very productive reading period for me. This book was not *exactly* what I thought it was when I first purchased it, I had a very... I suppose, conventional upbringing, but when I was growing up, my father, as unfortunate it is to say, was in almost all regards, a horrible father and husband. He had his moments of course, no one is inherently bad or good all the time, but often the bad outweighed the good, which in turn caused us to have a very negative relationship. It has since improved as I've gotten older, but my past relationship with him has certainly shaped me, for better or for worse. Therefore, the initial subject matter of this book was interesting to me. Growing up, my mother was the primary caregiver, support system, and all around pinnacle of my life, she still remains as such today, whereas my father is more... A friend. Which is more than he ever was to me as a child. This book is essentially a study, or a collection of studies, based on interspecies paternal patterns, paternal psychology, and how or why this affects us as individuals, and as a society, and how the genetics of mother and father shape children, so many things to learn about genes. Male and Female genes are different, and completely balance eachother out when it comes to the conception of a child. An imbalance of any of these thousands upon thousands of genes can threaten its life, and result in even death. Disorders, handicaps, autism, etc. It's all about genes. It can even be traced back to mental illness. Ideas are proposed in this book, ideas that maybe certain disabilities that are acquired at birth, are affected by genes that aren't "activated" or even ones that have mutated. It's proposed that maybe one day, scientists and doctors could find a way to "turn on" the inactive genes, and somehow these disabilities could be erased, or at the very least, changed. Of course such a thing would be solved with drugs, prescribed drugs. Phew, that's a lot to take in. Since there aren't a lot of studies done on human fathers and how human couples interact with eachother and their children, many of the studies in this book are done on mice, who are one of the closest relatives to us as far as body and brain function goes. One of the more interesting ones to me, were a certain breed of mice, California mice, who are strictly monogamous, who'd have thought? Most other mice are non monogamous. Also.... deer mice are very promiscuous, and kinda gross. Another thing they do go over in this book, is... "Daddy issues". And how such a thing can result in women entering puberty sooner, our biology takes over, and the reason for this is apparently because in young women's minds, if the father leaves, that makes us believe that men in general won't stick around for long, thus we must be ready to reproduce faster? (Kinda lost me there) I'm not sure how I felt about that particular bit of research either. Blah. I was really interested to learn all the positive effects of oxytocin on the body, and am now a big fan of the possibility of it being administered as a prescription drug, which is something that everyone could benefit from. This book was very interesting to me, and if you're at all interested in parental psychology, I recommend it :^)

  15. 5 out of 5

    Cathy

    The author presents a compilation of research on fathers and how fathering impacts children. The overall consensus is fathering is just as important to children as mothering. Pretty much if a mother doing something has a certain impact on children, the father doing the same thing would have the same impact. Fathers play with children a bit differently from mothers, tending to be more playful, rough, and fun. Research has found this kind of play to be beneficial to children (and mice :D ) Fathers The author presents a compilation of research on fathers and how fathering impacts children. The overall consensus is fathering is just as important to children as mothering. Pretty much if a mother doing something has a certain impact on children, the father doing the same thing would have the same impact. Fathers play with children a bit differently from mothers, tending to be more playful, rough, and fun. Research has found this kind of play to be beneficial to children (and mice :D ) Fathers also has unique genetic contributions to their children. There are some traits and illnesses that are determined by genes from the father. (Fathers over 50 years of age are six times more likely to have children with autism or schizophrenia than fathers in their 20s. I didn't know this before.) In the concluding chapter the author wrote about two of his friends who never knew their father. One's parents split before she was born and she never met her father. The other was the child of a sperm donor. Both women expressed anguish to the author over not having a father in their lives, despite people telling them they don't need to have a father to be happy. Gives me much food for thought.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Robertvaughn7 Vaughn

    This is a validating read for a father like me. Lots of good information and many studies cited from around the world showing the effect of fathers presence or absence on their children. One of the most compelling statements for me was that daughters without a father on average begin menstruating at an earlier age. Also, men who become fathers in their mid thirties or later had children with a greater risk of having autism or schizophrenia. Along with these statements are many others illustrati This is a validating read for a father like me. Lots of good information and many studies cited from around the world showing the effect of fathers presence or absence on their children. One of the most compelling statements for me was that daughters without a father on average begin menstruating at an earlier age. Also, men who become fathers in their mid thirties or later had children with a greater risk of having autism or schizophrenia. Along with these statements are many others illustrating the importance of being an engaged father throughout their child's development. Everything from doing well in school, making more money in life and being emotionally adjusted as a result of a father being present are discussed. I highly recommend this as a read for fathers and fathers to be.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Highly interesting read! I’ve long thought fathers weren’t given the proper consideration for their familial contribution. The studies done were interesting to read, and I enjoyed listening to all the research done into fatherhood from the animal kingdom. Even more interesting was the study on children of women who had used sperm donors and the affect it had on them mentally, physically, and emotionally. This section was too short in my opinion, but I understand it’s an area of new research. I h Highly interesting read! I’ve long thought fathers weren’t given the proper consideration for their familial contribution. The studies done were interesting to read, and I enjoyed listening to all the research done into fatherhood from the animal kingdom. Even more interesting was the study on children of women who had used sperm donors and the affect it had on them mentally, physically, and emotionally. This section was too short in my opinion, but I understand it’s an area of new research. I highly recommend this title, although I’ll caution it might be a bit tedious for those not into science-y research books.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    This was a timely read for me. As a (relatively) new father, I have been examining the father-child relationship and thinking about both what it means to be a dad as well as to have one. Helped shed some interesting light on the relative dearth of father-child studies, although most of the research didn't step too far outside of what could have been "common sense". Did help identify how a father-child and mother-child relationship tend to be "separate but equal" and reminded me that I need to ma This was a timely read for me. As a (relatively) new father, I have been examining the father-child relationship and thinking about both what it means to be a dad as well as to have one. Helped shed some interesting light on the relative dearth of father-child studies, although most of the research didn't step too far outside of what could have been "common sense". Did help identify how a father-child and mother-child relationship tend to be "separate but equal" and reminded me that I need to maintain a life of my own in order to be my best dad.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Victoria

    Although there is interesting science and psychology noted throughout this book, the author seems to have made a decision about how important fatherhood is to him specifically then wrote an entire book to support his view of the subject. Of course father's matter, to a father of 5. If course the end is supportive of father's rights in courts. The reason that it wasn't a lower rating is the interesting information and studies absentee father's had on adolescents. A perspective I had never read or Although there is interesting science and psychology noted throughout this book, the author seems to have made a decision about how important fatherhood is to him specifically then wrote an entire book to support his view of the subject. Of course father's matter, to a father of 5. If course the end is supportive of father's rights in courts. The reason that it wasn't a lower rating is the interesting information and studies absentee father's had on adolescents. A perspective I had never read or thought of before. It was especially helpful broken down by gender.

  20. 5 out of 5

    David Gamble

    I was expecting more sociology in this book than I got, and definitely not this much genetics. In fact, the book seemed a bit biased to genetics and that evidence's views, which may be in conflict with a more broad perception if more forms of science were used as often as genetics. Still, there's great content here. I especially appreciated the last fifth of the book where that harder science was contrasted and blended with sociological information to show where we need to do work as a society. I was expecting more sociology in this book than I got, and definitely not this much genetics. In fact, the book seemed a bit biased to genetics and that evidence's views, which may be in conflict with a more broad perception if more forms of science were used as often as genetics. Still, there's great content here. I especially appreciated the last fifth of the book where that harder science was contrasted and blended with sociological information to show where we need to do work as a society. I'm hoping to revisit that last section specifically again.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Anthony Locke

    Using the Goodreads scale, two stars doesn't mean an epic failure, but that "it was okay." That's really how I felt about this book. It was light on the application and heavy on social science, psychological, and scientific studies on the importance of fathers. I also thought he downplayed some of the important social science data on the importance of having a father in the home, maybe because of a political bias since it's not PC for the left to take a strong position on this issue. I think the Using the Goodreads scale, two stars doesn't mean an epic failure, but that "it was okay." That's really how I felt about this book. It was light on the application and heavy on social science, psychological, and scientific studies on the importance of fathers. I also thought he downplayed some of the important social science data on the importance of having a father in the home, maybe because of a political bias since it's not PC for the left to take a strong position on this issue. I think there are better books on parenting out there.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Andrienne

    Listened to this book and it worked better, since someone already mentioned that it was kind of dry (although I didn’t find it to be as an audiobook). The author/narrator did a good job in sustaining a good flow with a pleasant voice. Backed by lots of science, it touches up on hormones, neurotransmitters, animal studies, genetics, psychology, and human behavior. This is a thorough book that looks at all aspects of a father’s impact on children. Valuable to those who are about to be fathers or m Listened to this book and it worked better, since someone already mentioned that it was kind of dry (although I didn’t find it to be as an audiobook). The author/narrator did a good job in sustaining a good flow with a pleasant voice. Backed by lots of science, it touches up on hormones, neurotransmitters, animal studies, genetics, psychology, and human behavior. This is a thorough book that looks at all aspects of a father’s impact on children. Valuable to those who are about to be fathers or men and women who want to think about being parents in the future.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lauren Read

    A very engaging science book of great interest for a mother-to-be like myself. Sure, there is more gender equality, specifically among parents, than there used to be, but stereotypes remain, and fathers' importance often gets short shrift. This book examines fathers roles and impact not only in statistics and psychological studies but in terms of genetic and biological factors. Fascinating. (Unfortunately, some of the research did involve animal tests.) A very engaging science book of great interest for a mother-to-be like myself. Sure, there is more gender equality, specifically among parents, than there used to be, but stereotypes remain, and fathers' importance often gets short shrift. This book examines fathers roles and impact not only in statistics and psychological studies but in terms of genetic and biological factors. Fascinating. (Unfortunately, some of the research did involve animal tests.)

  24. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    I looked forward to getting back to this book every time I picked it up. If a book does that to me, it's getting a four star review no matter what. This book was more about how fathers matter, drawn from social and scientific research. It's clear that dads matter to their kids' development, starting at or even before conception. This seems like common sense, but it was nice to see some scientific evidence for how exactly dads matter to their kids. I looked forward to getting back to this book every time I picked it up. If a book does that to me, it's getting a four star review no matter what. This book was more about how fathers matter, drawn from social and scientific research. It's clear that dads matter to their kids' development, starting at or even before conception. This seems like common sense, but it was nice to see some scientific evidence for how exactly dads matter to their kids.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Patrick Brentlinger

    Sad that this needs to be said The cultural lie that fathers are optional even pervades this authors thinking. At times I found his assumptions maddening on this score. However, I would recommend this book if for no other reason than to be better armed as a dad against the insidious doctrine that dads don’t matter.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sam

    Thought provoking book on the importance of fathers. As a new father myself, I appreciated the science, though it was heavy on evolutionary animal science that correlates to parenting. The answer? Yes, fathers do matter and more than we realized in their impact on children's behavioral risks, language development, etc. Thought provoking book on the importance of fathers. As a new father myself, I appreciated the science, though it was heavy on evolutionary animal science that correlates to parenting. The answer? Yes, fathers do matter and more than we realized in their impact on children's behavioral risks, language development, etc.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    This is a great book for what it is: a meta analysis of the relationship of fathers with children and families. Paul Raeburn draws from the available data, human and animal alike, to analyze and organize the information into chapters that are interesting and impactful, while pointing out that there is still so much to study about the role of fathers.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Colleen

    This was a quick read and had some interesting information about genetics and behavior and psychology — but the bias is strongly toward genetics, from a more evolutionary perspective. Interesting to read with a small child in the house!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    The short answer is OF COURSE THEY ARE! First of all, you could get that without reading this book, but I did enjoy the more scientific reasons why they matter so much. As one-half of a soon to be parental team, I definitely want to make sure dad's presence is felt in the life of our child. The short answer is OF COURSE THEY ARE! First of all, you could get that without reading this book, but I did enjoy the more scientific reasons why they matter so much. As one-half of a soon to be parental team, I definitely want to make sure dad's presence is felt in the life of our child.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Patrick

    I want desperately to give this book 4 stars but I can only read so many pages of genetic research on rats before I bump it down. That being said I love that this book proves in no uncertain terms that fathers are way more important than society has given them credit for.

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