What Dad’s Play Does for Kids

This week someone at work showed me a video of her nephew insisting that he was a girl. She presented it to me as an amusing video and in a way it was. But it also reminded me about how hard being a parent can be. I wonder whether this kid really does feel as though he is a she, or if it's "just a phase"?

In any case, I read an interesting article about parenting just now so I'm sharing some thoughts.

...both genders can engage in both types of interaction. The brains of homosexual fathers who are their babies’ primary caregivers show as much activation of the amygdala-based parenting network as the brains of mothers, according to a 2014 study led by Ruth Feldman, a neuroscientist and psychologist at Bar-Ilan University in Israel.

Fascinating. I've often wondered if anyone studied this sort of effect. We see it portrayed in media a lot - one person in the gay couple will take on the "mother" role, while the other is the "father".

I honestly have never been sure if that was a real phenomenon or something cooked up by TV writers to ensure that viewers could understand the characters by still playing fairly traditional roles.

Fathers tend to work long hours, to be less likely to live with their children, and to be more private about their parenting.

Private about parenting? Maybe it's because there are less social constructs around fatherhood like mothers groups? It would be interesting to see what the data on this is in a country like Sweden where parental leave is generally more evenly split between parents.

It is true that children tend to react badly when mothers are intrusive, but “when fathers are intrusive, children aren’t that unhappy,” Dr. Cabrera says. Researchers are taking note of such nuances, she says: “If the father is happy and the child is happy, it’s not intrusive.”

What a fascinating finding. I wonder if this changes depending on the sex/gender of the child?