Although previous work has shown that mothers' parenting influences the development of child executive function (EF; important self-control skills developed during the preschool years), the role of fathers' parenting has not been thoroughly investigated. We observed fathers' autonomy support and control in dyadic play with their 3-year-old children (N pairs=110) and measured father and child EF independently with laboratory tasks. We found that fathers' controlling parenting was significantly inversely related to the child EF composite, above and beyond family income and child verbal ability. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that fathers are important for the development of EF in their children and suggest that fathers should be included in both research and parenting interventions.
- Autonomy support
- Executive function