New Study: Fatherly Love is a Critical Factor to a Child’s Personality Development

By Rebecca Lewis on June 13, 2012

Father’s Day is fast approaching. Few more days to go and we will be celebrating this day with overwhelming gratitude for our dads.

In a half-century study involving over 10,000 people from around the world, researchers from the University of Connecticut found that a fatherly love contributes as much, and sometimes more, to a child’s personality and development, as that of a motherly child.

Parental acceptance and why it’s so important

The researchers looked at 36 studies from various nations about how parental rejection affects a child’s personality and its development until adulthood. The studies were based on surveys that aimed to measure the parent’s degree of rejection or acceptance of their children. Rohner and Abdul Khaleque, study authors, found that children who have experienced parental rejection tend to become more anxious and insecure, and sometimes more aggressive and hostile towards other people as they grow up. This makes it more difficult for them to stay away from the cycle and become better parents. These adults are also less likely to form a secured and trusting relationship with their partners.

The feeling or rejection or acceptance is crucial to one’s personality development. According to Rohner, there’s emerging scientific evidence that reveals that there are parts of the brain that are activated when people experience physical pain and these regions are also activated when a person feels rejected. But the good thing is – people can revive this emotional pain over and over again, he pointed out.

Fatherly Love vs. Motherly Love

The researchers also studied the degree of impact of a father’s rejection or acceptance as compared to that of the mother’s. Based on their analysis of the 36 studies, Rohner and Khaleque found that the influence of a father is oftentimes much greater as compared to the influence of the mother. A group of experts working on the International Father Acceptance Rejection Project has one explanation for this. According to them, children and young adults tend to pay more attention to the parent which is perceived to be having a higher authority. So if the child perceives his father to be of a higher authority, that child’s behaviour is more likely to be influenced by his dad. More scientific investigations are needed to support this claim though.

An important realisation from this research, as explained by Rohner is this: fatherly love is critical to a person’s development. Knowing this would help motivate men to become more involved in rearing their children. Furthermore, these findings will reduce the society’s ‘mother blaming’ attitude which is most observed in schools and clinical environments as more people realise that daddies, do have a major role to play too in developing a child’s personality.

Their findings were published in the Journal of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology.

 

Source of this article:

A Father’s Love is One of the Greatest Influences on Personality Development, Society for Personality and Social Psychology

 

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