Over the years while working with youth, I became very concerned with the function of the brain in the
cognitive health of boys. With all the diagnosis from ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) to the
application of an IEP (Individualize Education Plan), I came across Dr. Jaak Panksepp who studied the
importance of play within families; especially with the father. His study and experiments led him to put the
male rat in the confined environment with his children. He then placed a microphone in the cage and
recorded laughter from the baby rats as they played together with the father. His research showed how
cognitive health is not only a vital aspect of a person's overall well-being; it is also impacted by engaging
with a father. The ability to think, learn and remember information is such an important part of cognitive
health. It is crucial for individuals of all ages but it is especially important during childhood and adolescence
when the brain is still developing. In this article, we will focus on boys and their cognitive health, examining
a few statistics, possible solutions and some positive results.
According to a study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), boys are more
likely than girls to be diagnosed with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). The study found that
approximately 13.2% of boys and 5.6% of girls between the ages of 3 and 17 have been diagnosed with
ADHD. Another study conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) found that boys are
more likely than girls to be diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The study also found that
approximately 4.5 times as many boys as girls have been diagnosed with ASD.
Fatherhood plays a significant role in the overall development of boys cognitive health. Research has
shown that children who have involved fathers have better cognitive, emotional, and behavioral outcomes.
A study conducted by the University of Oxford found that children who have a positive relationship with
their fathers have higher cognitive scores at age 3 and 5 than children who have less involvement with their
fathers. Fathers play a unique role in their children's lives, and they often have a different parenting style than mothers. They tend to engage in more rough-and-tumble play, which can help boys develop better spatial reasoning skills. Additionally, fathers are more likely to encourage independence and risk-taking in their sons, which can help them build resilience and problem-solving skills.
Fathers who have positive relationships with their sons can serve as role models for healthy behaviors, such
as regular physical activity, healthy eating habits, and positive social interactions. One way to promote
cognitive health in boys is to encourage healthy eating habits. A diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole
grains, and lean proteins has been shown to improve cognitive function. Encouraging boys to choose
healthy snacks such as fresh fruit, nuts, and seeds instead of processed snacks is a key way to pour positive decision-making skills into them. Another study found that boys who ate a healthy diet had better
cognitive function than boys who ate a diet that was high in processed foods. The study found that boys
who ate a diet that was rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains had better memory, attention and
processing speed. Studies have also shown that boys who participate in regular physical activity have better cognitive function than boys who do not exercise regularly. In one study, boys who engaged in regular physical activity had higher scores on tests of cognitive function than boys who were sedentary.
In closing, fatherhood plays a critical role in the cognitive health and development of children especially
boys. Fathers who are involved and supportive can help their sons develop better cognitive, emotional, and
behavioral outcomes. They can serve as role models and provide emotional support and encouragement,
which can help their children develop a positive self-image, better mental health and healthier food
choices. It is not too late for men to pour into our boys. Fathers can start today to build relationships with
their sons and other boys who may need the direction and support of a positive healthy father, father
figure and/or mentor. Your involvement contributes to their healthy cognitive development and help
redirect negative behaviors into positive pathways over time. Mentoring helps too. It takes 12 mentors to
equal the 1 healthy father!
Calvin T. Mann is an author, advocate and the President and Founder of EMIY Inc and Good Fathers Only.
He is available for speaking engagements, book signing, and 1-on-1 mentoring at Calvintmann@gmail.com
or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Encourage Me I’m Young (EMIY) Inc., a non-profit 501c3 based in Detroit is a grassroots volunteer driven organization dedicated to legacy. We have supported, developed, and nurtured children and fathers to reach their fullest potential since 2007.
Respect Day 2024 Information Packet
Respect Day Respect "We All Matter" April 6, 2023 we are challenging every cause, caring and concerned child, teen, and adult from all walks of life that "We All Matter"