Dads who are around at an early age of their child's life reduce the risk of the child growing up with behavioral problems, a new study from University of Oxford says. A father's involvement in raising the child lowers risk of behavioral problems after a year.

Researchers recruited 192 families from two separate maternity wards in UK. They found a strong relationship between fathers' involvement after the child was born and behavioral problems of the child.

"We found that children whose fathers were more engaged in the interactions had better outcomes, with fewer subsequent behavioral problems. At the other end of the scale children tended to have greater behavioral problems when their fathers were more remote and lost in their own thoughts, or when their fathers interacted less with them," said Dr. Paul Ramchandani, a researcher and clinical psychiatrist, from Academic Unit of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Medicine, Imperial College London, lead author, in a statement.

"This association tended to be stronger for boys than for girls, suggesting that perhaps boys are more susceptible to the influence of their father from a very early age," Dr. Ramchandani.

Father-child interaction important

Research has shown that fatherly love is just as important to kids as mother's love and that willpower and determination can be traced back to a father's parenting style. Experts say that fathers must be more involved in raising kids.

"We don't yet know whether the fathers being more remote and disengaged are actually causing the behavioral problems in the children, but it does raise the possibility that these early interactions are important," said Ramchandani.

Experts say that the idea that fathers have become more involved in the child's development only in the past few decades is not true and that fathers in the past were as concerned about their children as they are now.

Researchers in the present study say that father's involvement at an early stage is also as important as it is later in life.

"Focusing on the infant's first few months is important as this is a crucial period for development and the infant is very susceptible to environmental influences, such as the quality of parental care and interaction. As every parent knows, raising a child is not an easy task. Our research adds to a growing body of evidence which suggests that intervening early to help parents can make a positive impact on how their infant develops," Ramchandani added. 

The study was published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.