The Science of Fatherhood

June 16, 2021
The Science of Fatherhood

As we approach Father’s Day, we want to take a moment to acknowledge the role that fathers play and how important they are to their child’s development. Beyond general praise, here are a few fun facts you can share with the (newest) fathers in your practice!

1. Similar to the hormonal changes that a mother experiences after childbirth, fathers experience an increase in oxytocin after interacting with their children. [1]
2. Other hormonal changes occur in fathers when their children are born. They also experience a decrease in their level of testosterone. [2]
3. In the postpartum period, fathers experience increased neural plasticity and changes to the structure of the brain. [3]
4. Research indicates that fatherhood can be beneficial to a man’s health and that parenthood is associated with higher levels of health status among men. [4]
5. Fathers tend to have different play styles than mothers do, engaging in more physical play. They tend to have less predictable play patterns which may promote their child’s cognitive development. [5]

Remember, as a provider, you can promote connection between fathers and their children in the well child visit by:

  • Discussing the importance of noticing and responding to cues
  • Modeling back and forth interactions
  • Praising what you observe them doing, like soothing and snuggling their child