Today’s world is not an easy adjustment for young adults. A key skill set for success is persistence, a trait researchers say is heavily influenced by fathers.
Researchers from Brigham Young University discovered fathers are in a unique position to help their adolescent children learn tenacity.
BYU professors Laura Padilla-Walker and Randal Day arrived at these findings after following 325 families over several years. And over time, the persistence gained through fathers led to higher engagement in school and lower rates 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. “Learning to stick with it sets a foundation for kids to flourish and to cope with the stress and pressures of life.”
“There are relatively few studies that highlight the unique role of fathers,” Padilla-Walker said. “This research also helps to establish that traits such as persistence – which can be taught – are key to a child’s life success.”
Researchers determined that dads need to practice an “authoritative” parenting style. Authoritative parenting is not authoritarian: rigid, demanding or controlling. Rather, an authoritative parenting style includes some of the following characteristics:
- Children feel warmth and love from their father;
- Accountability and the reasons behind rules are emphasized;
- Children are granted an appropriate level of autonomy.
In the study, about 52 percent of the dads exhibited above-average levels of authoritative parenting. A key finding is that over time, children raised by an authoritative father were significantly more likely to develop persistence, which lead to better outcomes in school and lower levels of delinquency.
This particular study examined 11-14 year olds residing in two-parent homes. Yet the study authors suggest that single parents still may play a role in teaching the benefits of persistence, which is an avenue of future research.
“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,” Padilla-Walker said.
The findings are reported in the Journal of Early Adolescence.
Source: Brigham Young University