Do Fathers Matter? (Hardcover)

What Science Is Telling Us about the Parent We've Overlooked

By Paul Raeburn

Scientific American, 9780374141042, 272pp.

Publication Date: June 3, 2014



A 2015 National Parenting Publications Awards Gold Winner
A Mom's Choice Awards Gold Medal Winner
For too long, we've thought of fathers as little more than sources of authority and economic stability in the lives of their children. Yet cutting-edge studies drawing unexpected links between fathers and children are forcing us to reconsider our assumptions and ask new questions: What changes occur in men when they are "expecting"? Do fathers affect their children's language development? What are the risks and rewards of being an older-than-average father at the time the child is born? What happens to a father's hormone levels at every stage of his child's development, and can a child influence the father's health? Just how much do fathers "matter"?
In "Do Fathers Matter?" the award-winning journalist and father of five Paul Raeburn overturns the many myths and stereotypes of fatherhood as he examines the latest scientific findings on the parent we've often overlooked. Drawing on research from neuroscientists, animal behaviorists, geneticists, and developmental psychologists, among others, Raeburn takes us through the various stages of fatherhood, revealing the profound physiological connections between children and fathers, from conception through adolescence and into adulthood-and the importance of the relationship between mothers and fathers. In the process, he challenges the legacy of Freud and mainstream views of parental attachment, and also explains how we can become better parents ourselves.
Ultimately, Raeburn shows how the role of the father is distinctly different from that of the mother, and that embracing fathers' significance in the lives of young people is something we can all benefit from. An engrossing, eye-opening, and deeply personal book that makes a case for a new perspective on the importance of fathers in our lives no matter what our family structure, "Do Fathers Matter?" will change the way we view fatherhood today.

About the Author

Paul Raeburn is a journalist and the author of four books, including Acquainted with the Night. His stories have appeared in Discover, The Huffington Post, The New York Times Magazine, and Psychology Today, among many other publications. A past president of the National Association of Science Writers, Raeburn has been a science editor at BusinessWeek and the Associated Press; and the creator and host of Innovations in Medicine on XM satellite radio. Raeburn lives in New York City with his wife, the writer Elizabeth DeVita-Raeburn, and their children.

Praise For Do Fathers Matter?: What Science Is Telling Us about the Parent We've Overlooked

“To answer the provocative question ‘Do fathers matter?,’ Paul Raeburn draws extensively on cutting-edge science, animal research, neurobiology, and large-population studies. Anyone interested in parenthood, human development, and culture must read this thoughtful book.”
—Gretchen Ruben, bestselling author of Happier at Home and The Happiness Project

“A must-read book for anyone who cares about the well-being of children, Do Fathers Matter? is a
scientifically rigorous paean to the importance of fathers. Writing with grace and clarity, Paul Raeburn
turns conventional wisdom on its head and places fathers, right alongside mothers, on a welldeserved
—Susan Cain, bestselling author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

“A thoughtful, sensitive, and nuanced exploration of how fathers enrich the lives of children.”
—Robert E. Emery, Director of the Center for Children, Families, and the Law at the University of Virginia, and author of The Truth About Children and Divorce

“Dispelling one myth after another, Do Fathers Matter? offers a detailed, state-of-the-art map of a much neglected and misunderstood terrain—the unique, complex, and powerful role fathers play in the healthy development of children. From anthropological studies to the latest brain research, Paul Raeburn gives us a thorough, eye-opening, and moving account that will change your vision of men in families forever. A tour de force.”
— Terry Real, family therapist, founder of the Relational Life Institute, and bestselling author of I Don’t Want to Talk About It, How Can I Get Through to You?, and The New Rules of Marriage

“Outdated myths and perceptions about fatherhood continue to exist, but Paul Raeburn’s comprehensive, scientific approach lays them all to waste. If you doubt a father’s importance or capabilities as a parent, this indispensable read should change your mind.”
—Doug French, cofounder, Dad 2.0 Summit

“Do fathers matter? Yes, they do, and Paul Raeburn shows us why, in the most engaging and illuminating
way imaginable. Delving into psychology,biology, sociology, and history, Raeburn returns with rich insights and practical lessons for today’s dads, and for the sons, daughters, and partners who love them. Do Fathers Matter? fills a gap in our knowledge about parenting, but it also opens broad new vistas that we scarcely knew existed—until the science of fatherhood, and its chronicler Paul Raeburn, came along to reveal them.”
—Annie Murphy Paul, author of The Cult of Personality Testing, Origins, and Brilliant: The
Science of How We Get Smarter

“Paul Raeburn does a fantastic job of exploring the science of fatherhood as well as the myths that have affected how we think about fathers. With a keen understanding of science and a journalist’s commitment to hard facts and data, he sheds light on what is known about men as fathers—and what’s
yet to be discovered. Ultimately, Raeburn answers the title’s question, ‘Do fathers matter?,’ with an emphatic yes.”
—Josh Levs, CNN journalist and “dad blogger,” fathers’ rights advocate, and author of a forthcoming book on modern fatherhood

Praise for Acquainted with the Night

“A work that will surely be a help to thousands of similarly distraught parents.” —Barbara Ehrenreich, The New York Times

“A masterful job in relating your experiences with your family.” —Rosalynn Carter

“A cathartic tale . . . burns with emotional honesty.” —Psychology Today