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Despite claims arising in the 1970s and 1980s, recent research supports the notion that having a male father figure around is good for children. The father figure does not necessarily have to be the child's biological father. In recent years play between children and their fathers has been termed daddy play. Daddy play tends to be more spontaneous than other sorts of play and also tends to involve a somewhat higher level of risk. Researchers believe that daddy play helps children understand the concept of risk and allows them to develop skills to assess risk. This can be very important for them later in life.

Children with an involved father figure show lower levels of depression and greater overall achievement, on average.

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