In June 2012, two studies involving dads and their children were published in scientific journals. The first study was done at the University of Connecticut over several decades. The second one was done by Brigham Young University on the effects of parenting style of dads on their children.
In the first study they found that kids who feel rejected by their fathers show higher rates of behavioral problems than those who feel rejected by their mothers. These children show much higher rates of delinquency, depression, and substance abuse.
Moms may reject their child because they had not wanted to be pregnant, poor bonding soon after delivery, or other problems that drive her away from home. Of course, we expect those children to be seriously affected by her rejection.
But this study showed that if a child feels rejected by their father, the consequences are much more serious. Dads are vital to a child’s well-being. Dads may never have bonded with the child and therefore are more aloof. They may just be so busy or have to be away so much that they don’t know how to respond to the child when they are home and the child feels rejected. Or the child may not be what dad expected and so he rejects the child. His son may show more interest in music and arts or cooking and he wanted a child who loved the outdoors and would go trekking or hunting with him. But no matter what the cause, the effect can be devastating on the child.
In the Brigham Young study children responded much more strongly to the parenting style of the father than of the mother. The father’s style effected the child’s persistence much more than the mother’s style.
If the father showed love and warmth to his kids, held them responsible to obey the rules, explained why the rules exist, and gave them age-appropriate freedom; the children thrived. These children were much more persistent in their school work and had much lower incidents of delinquency. In other words, these were involved dads and they had good kids.
Another amazing fact that came out of this study was that it didn’t matter if the father figure in the home was the biological father or not. What mattered was his involvement and warmth with the children in the home.
So yet again, we see the importance of keeping dad involved with your children. Do everything you can to provide him time with the children when he is able to give them undivided attention. Keep him up-dated on your child’s development. Discuss any concerns you have together and agree on ways to handle those problems. Never put your husband down in front of the kids, but support him in his parenting role.
Some other articles about Dad that you might find important:
- Moms and Dads Together during pregnancy.
- When you have a newborn, Daddy needs time to bond with your baby. (See Bonding and Brain Chemicals )
- At around 18 months little boys realize they are more like dad than mom. They begin to shift their interest and allegiance to dad. They want to do everything dad does and they crave his attention. This is normal and vital to later healthy gender development. (See: ‘Healthy Gender Development‘)
- Dads and Their Daughters
- Moms and Dads Play Differently – Kids need both kinds of play!