Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Do Fathers Matter?: What Science Is Telling Us About the Parent We've Overlooked” as Want to Read:
Do Fathers Matter?: What Science Is Telling Us About the Parent We've Overlooked
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

3.47  ·  Rating Details ·  249 Ratings  ·  44 Reviews
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 question
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published June 3rd 2014 by Scientific American / Farrar, Straus and Giroux
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Do Fathers Matter?, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Do Fathers Matter?

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
D.R. Oestreicher
Apr 11, 2015 D.R. Oestreicher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Think of a father in popular culture. I'm guessing that that father is comically inept (Homer Simpson, Uncle Vernon Dursley, George McFly, Archie Bunker, Jim Baker in 16 Candles, or Harry Wormwood in Mathilda). This book uses the latest science research to correct popular misconceptions.

Science writing presents two challenges. The first is to translate science for the general public to make it clear, interesting, and relevant. In this, Raeburn finds the Goldilocks middle where the research is pr
Oct 10, 2014 Jaclyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a really informative book that addresses the science behind whether or not fathers matter. Fathers are often downplayed in our society, and in this book, Raeburn presents many of the scientific studies out there that deal with this subject matter to try to determine what effect a father has on his child's life.

The book is very scientific and a bit dry at times. It presents a lot of facts and research, which do run into each other and can become a bit repetitive. But it was very informa
Sep 23, 2014 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Paul Raeburn gathers the small amount of current research we have on fathers and their contributions to the health and well-being of their children. Spoiler alert--of course fathers matter! But researchers have been so focused on the mother/child relationship that the father/child research looks pretty anemic.

In essence, mothers tend to reinforce behavior, teaching children by day to day repetition, while fathers tend to employ destabilizing play, which helps children learn to regulate their em
Jun 10, 2014 Will rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall, I thought it was a good review of the literature about fathers. Most of the stuff was either common-sense or studies I've heard about elsewhere, but it was still good to see it collected. There's a little bit too much of "this should be studied more" all over the place -- in most cases, it is probably true, but it gets a little old reading it over and over.

His writing about same-sex parents, unmarried parents, and single mothers was a little one-dimensional and not really as fleshed out
Alisi ☆ wants to read too many books ☆
This book was okay. As a disclaimer, I'm a woman and I don't have any children.

Part of my 'meh' about this book was the fact that I just don't understand where the author was coming from when writing this book. I've never, ever heard of anyone saying that fathers are useless and that they don't matter. I've never heard that. In fact, I've heard quite the opposite: that is, there's all those campaigns to get men to have more involvement because they do matter so much.

Certainly, men have been bar
Mara Koulogeorge
This book should be called "Why Fathers Matter". I was expecting some debate around the topic instead of endless recaps of studies proving the importance of fathers.

The book is also quite dry. It reads just like what it is: an admittedly biased recount of research (and lack there of) written by a medical journalist who is also a father.

Maybe if you keep all that in mind going into the book, it will appeal to some audiences.
Brigid Schulte
Reveals the "Maternal Instinct" is the myth we've believed in for so long - shows solid science on the long overlooked role of fathers and how fatherhood changes men - and just how powerful the "Paternal Instinct is." Eye-opening, powerful, and important.
Jessica Lahey
Sep 01, 2014 Jessica Lahey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I adored this book, and have recommended it many times in the past couple of months. Great research on why fathers are so important for just about every aspect of childhood development.
Tony Kauffmann
too much about mice, not enough about people
Jan 07, 2017 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this overall, because I'm always a sucker for books that put Dads in their rightful place in the family: as a co-equal parent. And Raeburn writes for the layman in general, so explanations are mostly clear. Some of the research seemed a bit suspect in terms of its suppositions, especially where it was assumed that the researchers could understand how a thing had 'evolved', mostly without evidence. Otherwise, well worth reading, especially as an encouragement to fathers of all ages.
Eric Moote
Nov 08, 2015 Eric Moote rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: men, fathers, new fathers, mothers who like science, and Malcolm Gladwell fans.
Shelves: parenting
Overall: scientifically, it turns out they do!

Paul Raeburn is a science journalist which means you will like this book if you believe in and enjoy science, you enjoy books which summarize and weave together other peoples' work and you can hear a bunch of information and decide for yourself what it means and how it all links together (although he does some of that himself). Ultimately, it's like Malcolm Gladwell wrote a book on fathers and fatherhood.

"Do Father's Matter?" is a fairly comprehensi
Murilo Andrade
O novo papel do pai: A ciência desvenda o impacto da paternidade no desenvolvimento dos filhos

Ganhei este livro dia dos pais passado mas só tive a oportunidade de lê-lo agora. Apesar de ter muitos méritos, me decepcionou um pouco o fato do livro não estar focado em dicas para a paternidade. Ao invés, o autor foca nos recentes estudos sobre o impacto que os pais têm na vida dos filhos, e inversamente.

Grande parte do livro é sobre a falta de interesse da comunidade científica na paternidade, e co
Jul 07, 2014 Lindsay rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
While I certainly found this book fascinating, it was a little different than I expected. I was hoping for a book on parenting advice for fathers, or maybe a synopsis of scientific studies about human fathers. Wrong on both accounts. This book largely outlines studies done on animal fathers with a strong focus on genetics. As an overall nerd who enjoys popular nonfiction, I was still game. However, I think science geeks will enjoy this book more than fathers who want to learn about their paterna ...more
Oct 04, 2016 Eric rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A part of me wants to say this the best book I've read in the last couple years. Raeburn share with us some extremely interesting research surrounding the importance of fathers in the raising of children, in large part to emphasize what amounts to a huge oversight related to assumptions about the primacy of physical contact between mother and child during gestation. Of course, in sharing the research he includes studies across the spectrum of the subject. I would find it strange were it not foun ...more
Jim Fix
Nov 20, 2014 Jim Fix rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is a very long magazine article puffed up, with reduced page size and blank pages after some chapters--the publisher does that. The author helps by providing long lists of researchers' names and their institutional affiliations, better handled in the reference section the way most authors do. The first hundred pages concern genetics and animal reproduction, as if to prove that fathers really do matter in impregnating their species. This was less than enlightening. As for science overlooking ...more
Jun 21, 2014 Andrew rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars. First, put aside the title, which is more about selling the book than it is an accurate reflection of the book's content. Of course fathers matter! Raeburn's Do Fathers Matter? is not a referendum on that question but an overview of recent research on the impact of parenting on childhood development, with an emphasis on research that deals with, or is inclusive of, fathers. Raeburn covers a lot of interesting territory but be prepared for "This could be really important!...but we don' ...more
Ignacio Ahumada
Sep 18, 2014 Ignacio Ahumada rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: expecting fathers
it was an ok read. he repeats over and over the same ideas about the lack of evidence and historical focus on fathers.
I wasn't expecting only results of scientific studies about the impact of fathers on empiric studies. But overall it confirms what I knew about fathers:

1. can create a deep bond just as mother can
2. impact the development of social skills and emotional balance
3. if you don't involve in the pregnancy stage, you probably won't engage enough time with your children
4. reading books
Rus Funk
Jul 05, 2014 Rus Funk rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: masculinities
This is a good read. Accessible and packed full with good info. I appreciate how much he covers in what is,in affect, a meta analysis (or at least description) of the research on fathering.
There were pages that delved far too deeply (for me) in biologic and zoologic discussions/explanations. And he seemingly could not help himself from taking a swipe at feminists (specifically NOW) at the end. He failed to mention the work of feminists and NOW to agitate and advocate for the very policy changes
Apr 18, 2015 Regan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, non-fiction
I'd have given it 3.5 stars if I could. I felt like it jumped around a bit and gave an overview of research where a more in depth discussion of some stuff would have been more interesting. Some of the pregnancy related stuff I didn't find as fascinating as I maybe should have. Similarity, I wasn't always convinced on the relevance of animal research to human fatherhood. The reason I'd think to rate this a bit higher is that the message at its core is important - and he argues convincingly, unsur ...more
Marcus Mitchell
Jun 24, 2016 Marcus Mitchell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
As the author points out numerous studies have been performed regarding mothers, but there has been very limited research on fathers and their impact. This book takes a down-to-earth scientific approach to share findings about fathers in both the human and animal kingdom. Great insight! Hopefully this book, and others, will spur conversation and be a catalyst for our society to respect fatherhood and encourage men to be active participants in the lives of their children from the womb onward.
Troy Blackford
Jun 23, 2016 Troy Blackford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very good read. It explores the 'forgotten' half of the parenting partnership, and in the process reveals some fairly stark disparities in the amount of research done on parental relationships with children. This is another of those books that ably blends personal experience with hard science, and the mix is informative and resonant. A great book for any father to read.
Saeideh Bakhshi
This book is more of a literature review on research around fathers role in their children lives. I was hoping for more content on nurturing but the focus was too much on genetics. We all know fathers matter in shaping the nature of a child, so that part was not so interesting. Overall, a good read, at times a bit repetitive.
Rob Delwo
Aug 24, 2015 Rob Delwo rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Not bad. I like the scientific approach to solving his thesis. The author has some convincing arguments on why fathers are important, but it's a bit of preaching to the choir. I didn't pick up any new life changing advice that will help me become a better father... I guess the point of the book is to defend his thesis vs self improvement.
Aug 07, 2016 Stefan rated it liked it
A well researched answer to a question that no one who keeps up with latest research outcome would never state. For the rest of us, a bit chatty way to catch-up on a role of male parent. Fair to quick read, I've regretted the time to dive deeper, as it mostly ended up in diversion into more recent studies, analyse of which overshadowed this book.
Liss Capello
So this is pop science at its finest, with a provocative, easily answered title - Do Fathers Matter?! Well, of course they do, but this is an easily-read overview of much current research in the arena of fatherhood, and in what ways fathers are known to be influential on their children and families, both to their benefit and their detriment. It was interesting! I enjoyed it.
Jan 29, 2015 Jared rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is basically a big literary review of the science literature on fathers. Each chapter covers mostly distinct topics. It is a fast and interesting read that is well put together. It's not spectacular but I enjoyed reading it and do feel somewhat enlightened.
A short, readable summary of the current science behind fatherhood. I found it a bit superficial in its reporting, but that's the nature of most popular science books. It also harps on a bit too much about how neglected fathers are in research. Still an interesting read.
I stumbled upon this book at my elibrary. The answer is obvious: fathers do matter. I found that the author was very repetitive. Children growing up with both "active" parents are more likely to succeed in life.
Matthew Hochstetler
I was pleasantly surprised that the book had more to do with the science of fathers' genetic contributions than just advocating for fathers to take a more active role in parenting. I learned a lot and enjoyed it.
May 12, 2016 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, 2016
Guess what, they do. My take away is that father's are overshadowed by mothers, and we need to stop doing it. If there is a father present, make the most of it. If there isn't, then lets work through that too. Strong read for my 'father's rights' movement.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • A Nation of Wimps: The High Cost of Invasive Parenting
  • Introducing Emotional Intelligence: A Practical Guide
  • Kindergarden of Eden: How the Modern Liberal Thinks
  • Predisposed: Liberals, Conservatives, and the Biology of Political Differences
  • Just Because It Isn't Wrong Doesn't Make It Right: Teaching Kids To Think And Act Ethically
  • Miseducation: Preschoolers at Risk
  • رؤية للسلام العالمي
  • Sayyid Qutb and the Origins of Radical Islamism
  • Push Back: Guilt in the Age of Natural Parenting
  • Homeschooling: The Teen Years: Your Complete Guide to Successfully Homeschooling the 13- to 18- Year-Old
  • التجربة التركية من اتاتورك الى اردوغان
  • Parenthood by Proxy: Don't Have Them if You Won't Raise Them
  • Three Steps to a Strong Family
  • Feel-Bad Education: And Other Contrarian Essays on Children and Schooling
  • Playing Cards in Cairo
  • The Thames and Hudson Manual of Rendering with Pen and Ink
  • Vaccine Epidemic: How Corporate Greed, Biased Science, and Coercive Government Threaten Our Human Rights, Our Health, and Our Children
  • The Inquisition

Share This Book

“researchers analyzed data on more than six thousand children in Hong Kong, where smoking is not confined to those in lower economic brackets and where most smokers are men. The children were assessed when they were seven years old and again when they were eleven. Those whose fathers smoked when the mothers were pregnant were more likely to be overweight or obese. It was the first evidence supporting the idea that childhood obesity could be affected by a mother’s exposure to her husband’s smoking while she was pregnant.” 0 likes
“Females that had never been pregnant took an average of 270 seconds to find and eat the cricket; lactating females did it in just over 50 seconds.” 0 likes
More quotes…