The Journal of Genetic Psychology
In this study, the authors examined the parenting practices, developmental expectations, and stress levels of 136 fathers and the challenging and prosocial behaviors of their 1- to 5-year-old children. In addition, the authors systematically addressed fathers' qualitative concerns about their parenting. The authors divided the participants into 4 groups and controlled for family socioeconomic status (SES) and the focus child's gender. Results showed a significantly higher use of corporal and verbal punishment and parenting stress among lower income fathers. Secondary analyses demonstrated a significant effect of paternal disciplinary practices that emphasized the frequent use of corporal and verbal punishment on child behavior problems, regardless of SES level. On a positive note, fathers from both lower and higher SES groups had reasonable developmental expectations for their boys and girls, and they reported similar frequencies of their children's prosocial behavior. The authors discuss the need for early parent education programs that include fathers and that teach specific strategies to address child behavior problems.