On the website of ScientificAmerican there is an adaptation from Do Fathers Matter? What Science Is Telling Us about the Parent We’ve Overlooked, by Paul Raeburn. The influence of fathers on their teenage children has long been overlooked. Now researchers are finding surprising ways in which dads make a difference (so glad to read, actually).
An excerpt from the adaptation:
Empathy is another characteristic that we hope teenagers will develop, and fathers seem to have a surprisingly important role here, too. Richard Koestner, a psychologist at McGill University, looked back at 75 men and women who had been part of a study at Yale University in the 1950s, when they were children. When Koestner and his colleagues examined all the factors in the children’s lives that might have affected how empathetic they became as adults, one factor dwarfed all others—how much time their fathers spent with them. “We were amazed to find that how affectionate parents were with their children made no difference in empathy,” Koestner says. “And we were astounded at how strong the father’s influence was.”
Important to note: this doesn’t mean that families without a father present means that the children are doomed.