When the going gets tough, the tough should be thanking their fathers.
New research shows that dads are in a unique position to help their adolescent children develop persistence.
Brigham Young University (BYU) professors Laura Padilla-Walker and Randal Day arrived at these findings after following 325 families over several years. Over time, the persistence gained through dads led to higher engagement in school and lower rates of delinquency.
“The key is for dads to practice what’s called ‘authoritative’ parenting – not to be confused with authoritarian”
“In our research we ask ‘Can your child stick with a task? Can they finish a project? Can they make a goal and complete it?'” Professor Day said. “Learning to stick with it sets a foundation for kids to flourish and to cope with the stress and pressures of life.”
“There are relatively few studies that highlight the unique role of fathers,” Professor Padilla-Walker said. “This research also helps to establish that traits such as persistence – which can be taught – are key to a child’s life success.”
The key is for dads to practice what’s called “authoritative” parenting – not to be confused with authoritarian. Here are the three basic ingredients:
- Children feel warmth and love from their father.
- Accountability and the reasons behind rules are emphasised.
- Children are granted an appropriate level of autonomy.
Just over half of the dads in the study exhibited above-average levels of authoritative parenting. Over time, their kids were significantly more likely to develop persistence, which led to better outcomes in school and lower levels of delinquency.
“Single dads should focus on quality over quantity if they are not spending much time with their kids”
This particular study examined 11-14 year olds residing in two-parent homes. Yet the authors suggest that single parents still may play a role in teaching the benefits of persistence, and that fathers should focus on quality over quantity if they are not spending much time with their kids.
The study was published in the Journal of Early Adolescence.