Dads are key to kids learning persistence


Dads are in a unique position as authoritative parents to teach their adolescent children persistence.

“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?’ Learning to stick with it sets a foundation for kids to flourish and to cope with the stress and pressures of life,” said Randal Day, Brigham Young University professor.

Persistence leads to less delinquency

The researchers found that through time, the persistence learned through fathers resulted in lower delinquency rates and greater engagement in school. “There are relatively few studies that highlight the unique role of fathers. This research also helps to establish that traits such as persistence – which can be taught – are key to a child’s life success,” added Professor Laura Padilla-Walker also of BYU.

Father as loving authority is key

They found that authoritarian fathers had the most success. An authoritative father establishes himself as a person the child will respect and he responds to his child’s needs. The dad does this while maintaining a nurturing home in which the child feels safe to make mistakes and question rules. The key is for the father to be the authority, but also respond to children with understanding and some flexibility.

The key is for children to feel their father’s love while also being held accountable and achieving an understanding of rules. In doing so, a child feels comfortable exercising his autonomy. This leads to greater persistence and lower delinquency.

Even separated fathers can achieve results

“Fathers should continue to try and be involved in their children’s lives and engage in high quality interactions, even if the quantity of those interactions might be lower than is desirable,” concluded Padilla-Walker.

Source: MedicalNewsToday, Journal of Early Adolescence


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