How a father's psychological well-being affects a child
A new study from Michigan State University found direct links between a child's growth both mentally and physically and how a dad's psyche contributes
A new study conducted by a team at Michigan State University (MSU) confirms that a father’s role as a parent extends far past the common stereotypes of the “man of the house”. This new evidence proves that a father’s psychological well-being, more than anything else, determines his ability to nurture and properly rear his children.
The study used the collected data of around 730 contributing families. Said families participated in a survey which was taken at 17 different sites across the United States in order to offer a favorable and varying sample size.
The point of this study was to investigate the importance of a father’s stress reduction techniques and overall psychological well-being, and how those factors contribute to his ability to foster his children.
Furthermore, the study aimed to prove that the love and support (or lack thereof in fathers with poor mental states) had a significant impact on his kids' cognitive growth, social skills, and language acquisition from toddlerhood to fifth grade.
Psychology Today reports that, “the study found that a father’s parenting-related stress levels and mental health had a particularly harmful effect on his children's cognitive and language development when the children were 2 to 3 years old—even when a mothers' positive influences were taken into account.
As might be expected, the fathers' influence appeared to have a stronger effect on boys' language than girls' language.”
In short, the collected data points to some of the most conclusive evidence that a father’s psychological well-being can directly affect a child’s life, both physically and emotionally.
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These groundbreaking findings have the MSU research team to advocate and endorse social programs that focus on connecting with fathers and not solely on mothers.
In her official statement regarding the findings, Claire Vallotton, associate professor and primary investigator on this research project, said, "There's this whole idea that grew out of past research that dads really don't have direct effects on their kids, that they just kind of create the tone for the household and that moms are the ones who affect their children's development. But here we show that fathers really do have a direct effect on kids, both in the short term and long term."
To clarify, any misconceptions that a father’s role in the house is strictly regarded as breadwinner needs to be put to rest. A father needs to be just as mentally sound as a mother in order for children to fully develop cognitively, socially, and physically.
To all the working dads out there: always keep in mind that you’re much more to your family than a shining source of financial stability or strength. Your kids need you to be a cool, calm, loving, and nurturing parent if you want to see them reach their full potential.
This story was originally reported by Psychology Today
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