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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 June, 2003, 09:57 GMT 10:57 UK
Dusting Dads 'more attractive'
No longer seen as a woman's place?
Children benefit from seeing their fathers help out around the house - and women find men more attractive if they pick up a duster, say researchers.

If children do their share of the cleaning alongside their fathers, they are likely to grow up to be better adjusted and more socially aware, they add.

US researchers say survey results show those children who have seen their fathers help out around the house have more friends than those who have not.

When men perform domestic service for others, it teaches children co-operation and democratic family values
Scott Coltrane, University of California
They are also less likely to get into trouble at school and less depressed or withdrawn.

And research in 'love labs' in the University of Washington found that women are more likely to feel amorous if men help out around the house.

Sporty Dads

Researchers from the University of California looked at a national survey of 3,563 children and their parents.

Men still do less housework than their wives, according to the survey.

But they are taking on some tasks, such as shopping and picking children up from school, as well as taking on some cooking and cleaning.

They are also more likely to hug their children and tell them that they love them, the researchers found.

Although men spend more time with their children than previous generations - around three hours on a weekend day - they tend to spend much more time on sporting activities than mothers do.

But the more sports they do do, the less likely Dads are to help out around the house.

Sociologist Scott Coltrane of the University of California, Riverside, who led the research, said: "When men perform domestic service for others, it teaches children co-operation and democratic family values.

"It used to be that men assumed that their wives would do all the housework and parenting, but now that women are nearly equal partners in the labour force, men are assuming more of the tasks that it takes to run a home and raise children."


His colleague Dr Michele Adams added: "Because fewer men do housework than women, when they do share the work, it has more impact on children.

"By performing domestic service with their children, fathers model cooperative family partnerships."

Dr John Gottman, at the University of Washington, found that if men share the tasks, women feel less stressed about balancing the demands of work and home.

They also see their partner's assistance as a sign of love, and therefore feel more sexually attracted to them.

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