Those who are parenting kids should take note of this new research, especially fathers. A recent study presented at the American Psychological Association annual meeting in San Diego, CA suggests that men who have a good relationship with their fathers growing up will have less of a reaction toward day-to-day stress when they become adults. Parenting kids these days is not an easy task, as any parent will tell you. Fathers have an especially important role in the life of their kids.
Parenting That Cuts Across Time Unique to Fathers and Sons
Fathers have a certain way of getting through to their sons. I remember a time in my young life when I was really going through some serious issues about life and what I was going to do with mine. My father could have just sat me down and started discussing these important issues with me. At that time in my life, I probably would have listened half-heartedly, if at all. I didn’t want to talk about those things with him at that time.
My father loved the outdoors and he knew that getting me out in the Colorado wilderness was just the right setting for talking about such things. He knew that we shared a common interest for the Colorado high country. He relied on that strong relationship forged over the years between a dad and his boy among these tall, snowy peaks. I don’t know what happened, but I knew what he was saying was right and true. He got through to me then, and even though he is no longer here, I still remember and cherish those loving talks.
Dad’s Attitude is Vital to a Healthy Relationship
A recent study conducted byErin Holmes, lead author and assistant professor in the School of Family Life at Brigham Young University indicated that dad’s attitude is more important than birth order, the child’s gender, and even a child’s social and language skills as a predictor of a happy, strong, and healthy relationship between father and son. Holmes stated, “The better way to create a good relationship is to think about their children’s needs, their children’s ideas and maybe even give their kids a little more room to make decisions on their own.”
Aletha Huston, at the University of Texas in Austin and Holmes co-author in the study observed about 600 fathers and sons as they played Slap-Jack and drew a sailboat on an Etch-A-Sketch, with the father on one knob and the son on the other. The researchers were especially interested in the child’s persistence in completing the task and the father’s level of support. They were also interested in how father’s would act to encourage their sons to be more independent. This supportive attitude toward a child’s independence, or autonomy becomes more important as kids develop into adults.
Mothers are not left out of this vital relationship either as they provide support and encouragement for these fathers to provide a positive and loving environment, the fertile ground from which grow strong, healthy, and life-long relationships. Even other siblings are an important part of supporting this vital father-son relationship. Families are a complex and dynamic system where each member of the family influences the other members in different ways. Research bears out that sons who have a strong relationship with their fathers will be able to handle the stresses and strains of adult life.
AARP.org; “Good relationship with dad makes son stress less as adult”
DeseretNews.com; “BYU study: Good parenting all about the right ‘dad-itude'”