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Research has demonstrated that fathers who spend time and involve themselves with their children do better in school than those children who's dads don't. The children are better at academic subjects and they are better social learners. Clearly this does not suggest that the father's influence is a guarantee of success at school, or indeed that a father's influence is absolutely necessary. However, the research tells us that it is more likely to be a factor.
With the increase in the number of fathers looking after the children on a full or part time basis, much research is being done to find out if this has any long term effect on the children. There is no clear evidence at the moment for any long term influences, but researches are willing to say that having a Dad in the children's lives - or a figure who acts like a Dad - is a good thing!
Creating a relationship with fathers is something that is innate in babies. As early as six weeks old the babies are able to respond differently to Dad and will coo and gurgle to get their attention. They use different techniques when communicating with mothers.
The Dad's role will never be that of mother - nor will the mother's role ever be that of Dad - but the father can wash, feed and comfort just as well as a mother. And, the babies love it!