The XX Factor

Could Someone Please Study Dads for a Change?

More from the experts on child rearing: “Children of moms who answered their children’s requests for help quickly and accurately; talked about their children’s preferences, thoughts and memories during play, and encouraged successful strategies to help solve difficult problems performed better … on tasks that call for executive skills than children of moms who didn’t use these techniques.” That extra bonus load of guilt for all the times you didn’t leap away from your desk to respond to a child who couldn’t get Thomas back on the track (or helpful aid in interacting with your toddler, depending on how you look at it) comes courtesy of researchers at the Universities of Montreal and Minnesota and was extracted on ScienceDaily .

The researchers, like many researchers before them, looked at mother and baby pairs to draw their conclusions, conveniently letting fathers off the hook for any responsibility for their child’s cognitive and executive functioning. I understand that in some studies-those involving breast feeding, say-the sex of the interacting parent will obviously affect the outcome. I’m not seeing the connection here. There’s nothing uniquely maternal about helping a child get the bunny puzzle piece to fit into the rabbit-sized hole.

Photograph of family by Stockbyte/Getty Images.