Fathering and School Achievement
Some research indicates that fathers experience the same parental joys, worries, and frustrations as mothers (Entwisle, 1985; Peterson & Hennon, 2005; Thomas & Walker, 1998). There are, however, qualitative differences between mothers and fathers in how parenting is conducted. There are, as well, differences within groups of fathers. Fathers bring certain strengths to parenting. In some cases, fathers would like to change the way they father, perhaps becoming more involved, nurturing, skillful, close, and so forth. Some fathers want involvement in their children's schooling whereas others do not know how, feel alienated from school systems in general (especially if their own school experiences were not positive), or do not feel comfortable within a particular school setting. Some fathers may not realize that active school involvement is appropriate or useful.
Irrespective of other factors such as social class, family structure, or developmental characteristics and stage of the child, positive outcomes for children appear to be related to certain parenting styles. Various publications report positive developmental outcomes for children associated with parenting styles characterized by logical reasoning, clear communication, appropriate monitoring, support, involvement in the role and with the children, and love (Anderson & Sabatelli, 2003; Peterson, in press; Peterson & Hennon, 2005). Children raised with this style of parenting are observed to be successful in school, altruistic, cooperative, trusting, having good self-esteem, and better able to enter into and maintain intimate relationships. Likewise, a style characterized by being sensitive to the children's developmental needs, nurturing without being overly restricting, acting responsive without being overly controlling, and stimulating without being overly directive is related to positive academic and other outcomes for children (Bean et al., 2003; Belsky & Vondra, 1985; Bush, 2000; Dunn, 2004; Ingoldsby, Schvaneveldt, Supple, & Bush, 2004; Marsiglio et al., 2000; Peterson, in press; Peterson & Hennon, 2005; Steinberg, 2002). This is a style referred to as authoritative parenting, and research indicates that it is this style that best predicts more desirable outcomes among children, including academic success.
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