This factsheet explores the relationship between father involvement and child gender. It reviews findings from research studies that indicate the gender of a child has important implications for father involvement, both the quantity and type of father involvement vary by gender, and this involvement may affect sons and daughters differently. Studies suggest that father-son relationships are stronger and involve more closeness than do father-daughter relationships; fathers differentiate between male and female children more so than mothers; fathers are more likely than are mothers to encourage sex-typed behaviors and traditional gender roles in children; fathers are gentler with girls and firmer, harsher, stricter, and more directive with boys; fathers tend to view infant boys as being stronger and hardier than infant girls, whom they view as being smaller, quieter, weaker, less coordinated, more beautiful, and more delicate; and that fathers may play a stronger role in sons' development than in daughters. Data is shared from Child Trends analyses of data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study- Birth Cohort (ECLS-B) 9-month, 24-month, and 48-month surveys on child gender and father involvement in early childhood, and differences in father involvement by poverty status and education level. 10 figures, 11 tables, and 64 references.
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