A major component driving cross-country fertility differences in the developed world is differences in the probability of having additional children among those who have one. Why do people stop at having only one child? We hypothesize that the experience of the transition to parenthood is an important determinant of further fertility. Analyzing longitudinal data from Germany, we find that the experience during the transition to parenthood, as measured by changes in subjective well-being, predicts further parity progression. A drop in well-being surrounding first birth predicts a decreased likelihood of having another child. The association is particularly strong for older parents and those with higher education: these characteristics may be related to the ability or willingness to revise fertility plans based on prior experiences. Parents' experience with the first birth is an important and understudied factor in determining completed family size, and policy-makers concerned about low fertility should pay attention to factors that influence the well-being of new parents.
Fathers' involvement in and influence on the health and development of their children have increased in a myriad of ways in the past 10 years and have been widely studied. The role of pediatricians in working with fathers has correspondingly increased in importance. This report reviews new studies of the epidemiology of father involvement, including nonresidential as well as residential fathers. The effects of father involvement on child outcomes are discussed within each phase of a child’s development. Particular emphasis is placed on (1) fathers' involvement across childhood ages and (2) the influence of fathers' physical and mental health on their children. Implications and advice for all child health providers to encourage and support father involvement are outlined.
- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
- Published about 3 years ago
Although contemporary socio-cultural changes dramatically increased fathers' involvement in childrearing, little is known about the brain basis of human fatherhood, its comparability with the maternal brain, and its sensitivity to caregiving experiences. We measured parental brain response to infant stimuli using functional MRI, oxytocin, and parenting behavior in three groups of parents (n = 89) raising their firstborn infant: heterosexual primary-caregiving mothers (PC-Mothers), heterosexual secondary-caregiving fathers (SC-Fathers), and primary-caregiving homosexual fathers (PC-Fathers) rearing infants without maternal involvement. Results revealed that parenting implemented a global “parental caregiving” neural network, mainly consistent across parents, which integrated functioning of two systems: the emotional processing network including subcortical and paralimbic structures associated with vigilance, salience, reward, and motivation, and mentalizing network involving frontopolar-medial-prefrontal and temporo-parietal circuits implicated in social understanding and cognitive empathy. These networks work in concert to imbue infant care with emotional salience, attune with the infant state, and plan adequate parenting. PC-Mothers showed greater activation in emotion processing structures, correlated with oxytocin and parent-infant synchrony, whereas SC-Fathers displayed greater activation in cortical circuits, associated with oxytocin and parenting. PC-Fathers exhibited high amygdala activation similar to PC-Mothers, alongside high activation of superior temporal sulcus (STS) comparable to SC-Fathers, and functional connectivity between amygdala and STS. Among all fathers, time spent in direct childcare was linked with the degree of amygdala-STS connectivity. Findings underscore the common neural basis of maternal and paternal care, chart brain-hormone-behavior pathways that support parenthood, and specify mechanisms of brain malleability with caregiving experiences in human fathers.
We examined parent-child relationship quality and positive mental well-being using Medical Research Council National Survey of Health and Development data. Well-being was measured at ages 13-15 (teacher-rated happiness), 36 (life satisfaction), 43 (satisfaction with home and family life) and 60-64 years (Diener Satisfaction With Life scale and Warwick Edinburgh Mental Well-being scale). The Parental Bonding Instrument captured perceived care and control from the father and mother to age 16, recalled by study members at age 43. Greater well-being was seen for offspring with higher combined parental care and lower combined parental psychological control (p < 0.05 at all ages). Controlling for maternal care and paternal and maternal behavioural and psychological control, childhood social class, parental separation, mother's neuroticism and study member's personality, higher well-being was consistently related to paternal care. This suggests that both mother-child and father-child relationships may have short and long-term consequences for positive mental well-being.
This study examined differences in children’s psychological and social indicators in non-traditional families in Israel, focusing on fatherless families headed by lesbian mothers and single mothers by choice. Although Israel is considered an industrialized westernized country, centrality of the traditional nuclear family predominates this country.
Background and objectives There is strong evidence that parental processes such as monitoring and social support play an important role with regard to sexual risk behaviour among adolescents. We wished to explore the influence of both parents' monitoring and support on sexual risk behaviour among adolescent boys and girls. Methods Questionnaires concerning sexual risk behaviour, parental support and parental monitoring were administered to 15-year-old students (n = 1343; 628 boys). Crude and adjusted logistic regression models were used to explore the effect of parents' monitoring and support on sexual risk behaviour among adolescent boys and girls. Results Parental monitoring was more strongly associated with sexual risk behaviour than parental social support. In particular, less monitoring by the father was significantly linked to early first sexual intercourse among girls and to not using a condom during last intercourse among boys. Less monitoring by the mother was associated only with not using a condom at last intercourse among boys. Conclusion Parental monitoring, even more than parental support, may delay the onset of sexual activity and increase the frequency of condom use among adolescents. The effects of mothers' and fathers' parenting processes on sexual risk behaviour of adolescents differ. Paternal monitoring affects condom use among boys, and initiation of sexual activity in girls.
This study used cross-lagged modeling to examine reciprocal relations between maternal and paternal harsh verbal discipline and adolescents' conduct problems and depressive symptoms. Data were from a sample of 976 two-parent families and their children (51% males; 54% European American, 40% African American). Mothers' and fathers' harsh verbal discipline at age 13 predicted an increase in adolescent conduct problems and depressive symptoms between ages 13 and 14. A child effect was also present, with adolescent misconduct at age 13 predicting increases in mothers' and fathers' harsh verbal discipline between ages 13 and 14. Furthermore, maternal and paternal warmth did not moderate the longitudinal associations between mothers' and fathers' use of harsh verbal discipline and adolescent conduct problems and depressive symptoms.
The aim of the present study is to examine the relationship between parental emotion regulation, infant medical risks and representation of child’s behaviour at 3 months corrected age. The sample includes 28 couples (parents) and 32 preterm infants (4 set of twins) (AG average: 29 weeks), Low Birth Weight (average weight: 1180,62 gr), hospitalized for about two months. At the 3rd month of corrected age of the child all couples were interviewed using the “Clinical Interview for Parents of High Risk Infants” (CLIP; Meyer et al., 1993), which explores the emotional aspects associated with preterm birth. The interviews were recorded, transcribed and analysed using ATLAS.TI. After the interview, only 14 mothers and 14 fathers completed the Behaviour Rating Scale (SVC-80; Laicardi, 1998), which explores the observational-representative styles of each parent with respect to the child’s behaviour in the context of everyday life. We identified three Couples Groups indicating qualitative differences in the emotional functioning of the subjects mainly in the temporal dimension: 1) 12 “future-oriented”; 2) 12 “suspended in the present”; 3) 4 “oriented to the past”. The results show that the infant’s medical status has a impact on ability of parents to process the experience of preterm birth: increasing the infant’s medical risks increases the difficulty of parents ability to process the experience. The CLIP can be a useful screening tool to identify difficulties of parents, to structure interventions focused on the elaboration of the traumatic experience of birth and on improving the quality of parent-infant relationship.
By the age of 21 years, 1 in 15 children will have had a parent with a diagnosis of cancer. A parent’s cancer affects the whole family. Adolescent children of cancer patients seek information about their parents' condition and support in reciprocal relations.
It has been suggested that children with same-sex attracted parents score well in psychosocial aspects of their health, however questions remain about the impact of stigma on these children. Research to date has focused on lesbian parents and has been limited by small sample sizes. This study aims to describe the physical, mental and social wellbeing of Australian children with same-sex attracted parents, and the impact that stigma has on them.