Pediatricians note increased involvement of fathers in childcare

March 1, 2014 1:59 pm

As pediatricians across the world observe an increasing role of fathers in the rearing of their children, the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation is arranging a workshop to highlight the importance of fathers’ role in Early Childhood Development (ECD).

The workshop entitled ‘Fathers as Partners in Raising Young Children’ will run from the 2nd to 5th March 2014, as a core aspect of the Foundation’s Early Childhood Development Program.

“Pediatricians have noticed an increased involvement of fathers in the care and well-being of their children,” says Dr Kyle Pruett, Professor of Child Psychiatry and Nursing as well as the former Director of Medical Studies at the Yale School of Medicine’s Child Study Centre who is in the UAE to discuss this trend. He adds that this trend is highly beneficial to children.

Child rearing is seen as a ‘woman’s job’ across many cultures, however, global research indicates that children have the best chance for a healthy development when both fathers and mothers work together.

“From scientific data in cultures, similar to the cultures in the GCC region, we know that this trend is showing positive outcomes for fathers and their children in terms of school performance, social abilities, and improved health in the father,” Dr. Pruett explains.

He also reveals that the fathers’ unique interaction with their children from infancy onwards is what makes the father’s role essential in early parenting.

“Not only do we now have proof from developmental research that children’s language skills by the age of 3 are more strongly predicted by the father’s vocabulary than by the mother’s, but we also have neuroscientific proof from brain imaging that interacting positively with one’s child, strengthens certain parts of the father’s brain having to do with the role of emotion in communicating,” Dr. Pruett adds.

“In our increasingly complex world, children need as many tools as possible to grow, to develop, to thrive and to succeed. Fathers play a central role in the challenging but rewarding task of rearing successful children,” noted Sheikha Shamsa bint Mohammed Al Nahyan, leader and patron of the Foundation’s Early Childhood Development program.”

She added: “We are pleased to bring to Abu Dhabi a renowned scientist like Dr. Pruett to share with the local community the latest thinking on fathering.”

The Parenting Workshop series started from 6 January 2014 and will continue till 6 May 2014, conducted more than once a month. Attendees can attend the workshop either at Al Mamoura A building, Manarat Al Saadiyat, Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi, and at Tawam Hospital Polyclinic, Al Ain.

The upcoming workshops are ‘Creating a Healthy Environment: Strategies for Promoting Nutrition and Physical Activity in Young Children’ and ‘I Can’t Get My Child to Behave! Best Practices for Setting Limits with Young Children’.


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