Journal of family issues
Interviews with forty 10- and 11-year-old children (24 boys and 16 girls) investigated the effects of parents' division of child care responsibilities on children's self-esteem, their relationships with parents, and their gendered ideas and preferences. Children whose fathers participated relatively more in the emotional side of parenting (e.g., comforting) showed greater preferences for "feminine" activities and had higher self-esteem than children whose fathers were less involved. Children whose fathers performed a higher proportion of the "work" of parenting (e.g., transporting, planning activities, and arranging child care) endorsed a more gender-free model of family life. The absolute amount of time fathers spent with children had no independent significant effects. Egalitarian parenting clearly benefits children when fathers share "maternal" tasks, but even when fathers do not fully participate in those "maternal" aspects of parenting, dividing the time 50-50 may benefit mothers without hurting children. (Author abstract.)
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