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Exploring the Mind | How Do Fathers Matter for Young Children's Development? Let Me Count the Ways!


Monday February 12, 2024: 6:00pm to 7:30pm  Add to Calendar /   Add to Google Calendar


Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room


Fathers express a strong desire to be a part of their children’s lives, to develop close emotional relationships with their children, and to be the best dads possible. Yet, they also report that most services and public spaces are mother-centric and not father-friendly, and that fathers are often viewed as secondary caregivers, babysitters, or optional parents in the lives of children. Although many studies focus on men’s engagement in housework and childcare (e.g., dressing, feeding, and taking children to the doctor), there is so much more to what fathers (and parents) do with children that can facilitate young children’s social, emotional, cognitive, and language development. Professor Brenda Volling will highlight the many ways in which fathers contribute to children’s development through their interactions and the activities they do with children. 

Brenda Volling is a developmental psychologist and the Lois Wladis Hoffman Collegiate Professor of Psychology at the University of Michigan. Her research focuses on early social and emotional development with infants, toddlers and preschoolers, parent-child interaction, and family relationships, in general, but it is her work on fathers that she is most passionate about. She is also the Principal Investigator of the Family Transitions Study (FTS), a longitudinal investigation examining changes in family life and the firstborn’s adjustment after the birth of a second child. She teaches courses in infant development and emotional development at the University of Michigan and has received numerous awards and honors for her research and teaching at the University of Michigan. Currently, she is working on psychoeducational supports for parents undergoing the transition to parenthood and the birth of a second child, as well as programs to support fathers with young children. 

This program is in partnership with The University of Michigan Department of Psychology.

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