The importance of fathers is frequently overlooked and underappreciated. A study was recently released that validates the impact a father has on his child’s development and the role dads play in cultivating the well being of their kids.
The study, conducted by Ronald Rohner of the University of Connecticut, delves into the how the father child relationship is tied to psychological development and contributes to forming the child’s personality. Rohner’s study examined 36 separate studies from around the world to evaluate how rejection from parents shapes the personalities of their children.
Over 10 years of psychological and neuroscience research was analyzed. The results of that investigation revealed rejection can cause a reaction in the brain that is similar to experiencing physical pain. Rohner explained “unlike physical pain, people can psychologically re-live the emotional pain of rejection over and over for years.”
Rohner’s research scrutinized results from more than 500 independent studies. This extensive meta-analysis revealed the frequency of rejection from mothers versus fathers is essentially the same. However, the effect wields a greater impact when the rejection is from the father. The researchers at the International Father Acceptance Rejection Project expressed the possible explanation for this difference is: “children and young adults are likely to pay more attention to whichever parent they perceive to have higher interpersonal power or prestige. So if a child perceives her father as having higher prestige, he may be more influential in her life than the child’s mother. Work is ongoing to better understand this potential relationship.”
The study calls attention to how vital a positive relationship between father and child is. Rohner summarized his findings by saying “that fatherly love is critical to a person’s development. The importance of a father’s love should help motivate many men to become more involved in nurturing child care.”
Rohner’s study confirms what most fathers already know: there is no substitute for a healthy father-child relationship. Being an involved and present father is essential to helping your child flourish into adulthood as a happy and well adjusted individual.