For decades, social scientists mostly included mothers in studies of parent–child relationships and child development. This focus resulted from the belief that mothers were more involved in child-rearing than fathers and consequently more influential in guiding children’s development. In recent years, however, scholars have shown that children benefit from both parents and that fathers’ contribution to their children’s well-being is important and in many cases distinct from that of mothers. Fathers provide emotional support, monitor behavior, and provide consistent and positive discipline. More importantly, the quality of the relationship that fathers share with their children is vital for their own well-being as well as their children’s. In essence, good fathering is good parenting. This entry reviews the demographic patterns of fathers, the various roles fathers ...

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