Vertical News: Fathers Vital to Healthy Development of Children

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Fathers Vital to Healthy Development of Children

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A new Canadian study from McGill University in Montreal explores the impact of fathers on the neurobiology and physical health of their offspring. Though an animal study, using monogamous California mice, it helps to explain previous statistics among human families.

One aspect of the study analyzed pre-conception nutrition of fathers. It’s common knowledge that the nutrition and health of the mother will affect the development of the baby while it is a fetus. However, scientists discovered that the nutrition and thereby health of the father before conception also impacts the development of the sperm and as a result, 50 percent of the genetic material the child inherits. Thus, an unhealthy father before conception results in greater likelihood of birth defects (Loren Grush, “Father’s Diet May Influence Long-term Health of Offspring,”, December 20, 2013).

The study also found that through brain development, offspring who grow up without fathers have a greater tendency toward aggression as well as a stronger sensitivity to addictive drugs, especially among daughters. The lack of a father during developmental years clearly shapes the future life of the children (Ben Spencer, “Growing Up Without a Father Can Permanently Alter the BRAIN: Fatherless Children Are More Likely To Grow Up Angry and Turn to Drugs,”, December 4, 2013).

These neurological findings mean that the impact of a healthy family with mother and father is more stabilizing in brain development for children.

“My son, hear the instruction of your father, and do not forsake the law of your mother; for they will be a graceful ornament on your head, and chains about your neck,” (Proverbs 1:8-9 Proverbs 1:8-9 [8] My son, hear the instruction of your father, and forsake not the law of your mother: [9] For they shall be an ornament of grace to your head, and chains about your neck.
American King James Version×
, NKJV).

God is love and He created the ideal setting in which his creation should develop—the family unit of father and mother, committed in a marriage that becomes fruitful through the blessing of children. Thought not everyone has that ideal situation in life, it is what we strive to achieve.