A father’s influence in a child’s life is undoubtedly a substantial one—the father fully affects the mental and emotional development of any kid. According to psychcentral.com researchers from Brigham Young University have gone as far as to state that the persistence found in children comes directly from the actions of the male parent. Much different than the comforting approach most mothers take, fathers have a unique position that allows them to be authoritative as well as instructional. After observing 325 families over several years, two BYU professors have confirmed that dads have a better chance of instilling tenacity in their kids.
Brigham Young University professors Laura Padilla-Walker and Randal Day studied the every day actions of 325 familes for years, compiling information on the relationship between fathers and their children. Over time Padilla-Walker and Day noticed that kids gained persistence from the interactions they shared with their dad. Gaining persistence positively affected children’s engagement in school and lowered bad behavioral rates.
“There are relatively few studies that highlight the unique role of fathers,” Padilla-Walker said, urging fathers to practice an “authoritative” parenting style. Padilla-Walker stressed that dads should take charge, but they should avoid harsh characteristics such as rigid, demanding, and controlling.
Children are more likely to gain persistence if their father commits to the following paternal actions: demonstrate love towards their child, force children to be accountable, place reason behind the rules being emphasized in the home and grant kids an appropriate level of independence.
Fifty two percent of the fathers observed during the extensive study raised persistent children through authoritative parenting. Each father within the 52 percent exhibited above-average levels of authority and, over time, their children performed very well in school and had lower levels of delinquency. “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?” Day said, connecting the parenting skills of the father to a child’s ability to follow instruction as well as commit to and complete tasks despite their difficulty. Having practiced abiding by their father’s rules for years, children with authoritative dads are accustomed to approaching duties and finishing them. Day concluded, “Learning to stick with it sets a foundation for kids to flourish and to cope with the stress and pressure of life.”
Padilla-Walker confirmed with psychcentral.com that persistence “can be taught and is key to a child’s success.” Eleven to fourteen-year old boys and girls in two parent homes were the control group of this study. Single parents may still play a role in teaching the benefits of persistence, but this is an avenue that has not yet been researched.
These findings were reported in the Journal of Early Adolescence.