Fathers' Contributions to Children's Peer Relationships.

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Parke, R. D.
McDowell, D. J.
Kim, M.
Killian, C.
et al.
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This chapter proposes that child social development is influenced by the interaction between the family social system and the peer social system. Fathers have an impact on their children's peer relationships in one of three ways: the characteristics of the father-child relationship; the type of supervision and advice that the father gives to the child; and the father's support of social opportunities for the child to meet and play with peers. Children's peer relationships also can be directly and indirectly affected by their father's marital relationships. Studies have found evidence that marital conflict and children's perception of marital conflict directly affects a child's ability to regulate emotions and relate to peers. Indirectly, marital conflict has a negative impact on the parent-child relationship, which reduces the child's social competence. Poor attachment histories of fathers and mothers affect their children in different ways. According to recent studies, poor attachment histories in fathers lead to externalizing behavior problems for children, while poor maternal attachment histories contribute to internalizing behavior problems in children. This chapter summarizes findings from the research about the multiple pathways that explain the connection between father-child relationships and children's peer relationships. Issues for future research also are discussed, including the influence of cultural and historical contexts and the mechanisms by which fathers affect their child's social development. Numerous references.

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