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THE DAD’S ROLE IN MENTAL HEALTH22

There’s a new study out that looks at how a dad’s mental health impacts his children’s development. Here’s the takeaway: Children whose dads have mental health problems are more likely to have behavioral issues as toddlers and social problems as fifth graders.

And if a dad is stressed about being a parent, the study found, his children are more likely to have cognitive and language problems in their toddler years.

Researchers say it’s important for agencies working with at-risk families to not gloss over the father’s role in childhood development.

“When the agency is talking with the dad, it’s not just about providing for your child economically, but also to be there for your child, to think about how stress or depression might be influencing your child,” the article’s lead author says. “In order to understand and help children in their development, there needs to be a comprehensive view of the whole family, including both mom and dad.”

While mental health and parenting research tends to focus more on the mother’s impact on her kids — which is a topic for another day — there have been plenty of findings about fathers, too. Here’s a sampling:

Dads out there, if your mental health is not where it needs to be, get some help! It’s so important for your children.

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