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C. The Important Role of Fathers in Child Development

Narrator: This is Science Today. Human behavior scientists generally agree that mothers play a very large and lasting role in a child's life - especially if they are home with the child more often than the father. But that's not to say fathers don't contribute to their child's well-being. In fact, child development expert Brenda Bryant of the University of California, Davis, says a father's direct interaction makes a great impact.

Bryant: And we find that these occur early in life and that makes them, once they're attached, make them a source for children to relieve their stress and enable them to explore more, learn more, because they're not as worried. So fathers play that role as well as the mother.

Narrator: Fathers also contribute to their child's emotional development in ways that are uniquely different from mothers.

Bryant: They're more likely to make up games and mothers are more likely to play traditional, established games, so fathers are introducing creativity and breaking rules or creating their own rules that can be very helpful to kids.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.