Fathers play a significant role in fostering social-emotional, cognitive, language, and motor development in the lives of their young children. Research shows that fathers strengthen development when they take an active role early and often in the lives of their children, even before they are born. Child development is part of a complex social system that varies widely from family to family (Lamb, 2010). There is no single "right" way for fathers to be involved. Instead, there are many types of father involvement in all aspects of raising a child. These include playing together, being nearby while a child explores, and taking a child for health checkups (Marsiglio, Day, Braver, Evans, Lamb, & Peters, 1998). Research has found that the value of father involvement is determined by the quality of the interaction between fathers and their children - for example, a father's responsiveness to the needs of his child - rather than the amount of time fathers spend with their children (Palkovitz, 2002). To better understand the unique and specific ways that fathers impact the lives of their children, researchers study the many roles fathers play in child development. The following findings provide insights into how children benefit developmentally from their fathers' involvement. Social-emotional development > Early involvement by fathers in the primary care of their child is a source of emotional security for the child (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2011). > Fathers' affectionate treatment of their infants contributes to high levels of secure attachment (Rosenberg & Wilcox, 2006). > When fathers acknowledge their child's emotional response and help them address it with a problem-solving approach, the children score higher on tests of emotional intelligence (Civitas, 2001). > Quality father-and-child time increases self-esteem, confidence, social competence, and life skills (Amato, 1994). > Children who have close relationships with their fathers have higher self-esteem and are less likely to be depressed (Dubowitz et al., 2001). > Mothers may use more parenting techniques of gentleness and security, while fathers may favor independence and confidence-building. These approaches help children understand the world in different ways; they balance each other (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2004). > Rough-and-tumble play with fathers can help children manage aggressive impulses and learn to control their emotions during physical activity (Goldman, Salus, Wolcott, & Kennedy, 2003). > Fathers' involvement in their children's lives before age 7 may protect against psychological maladjustment during the teen years (Flouri & Buchanan, 2002).