Is it me, or does it seem like every article about parenting is really about moms? 10 Ways Moms Screw Up Their Kids! Moms -- It's All Your Fault! Moms, No Pressure, But Everyone's Blaming You if Your Kid Needs Therapy.
What about the dads? THIS. A new, large-scale, international review of research shows that a father's love can have just as much effect (and sometimes more) on a child's development as a mother's. And starting from a very young age, too.
I repeat: Dads, you are not off the hook! Kids need their father's love every bit as much as a mother's love.
Researchers looked at 36 studies from around the world involving some 10,000 participants and found a common theme. They found that consistently, when children feel rejected from their parents they become more anxious, insecure, hostile, and aggressive toward others. Here's how co-author of the review, Ronald Rohner explains it.
In our half-century of international research, we've not found any other class of experience that has as strong and consistent effect on personality and personality development as does the experience of rejection, especially by parents in childhood.
And whether the father's love matters more than the mother depends on how your child sees you. Psychologists working on the International Father Acceptance Rejection Project (yes, someone is doing that!) think that children pay more attention to the parent they think has more prestige or interpersonal power.
So if Dad has a more dominant personality in the home his love -- or lack of love -- with matter more to his kids than their mother's love. It's a sobering thought. True, I think we all knew that dads matter in the first place. We don't need science to tell us that. Except that we kind of do, because people still end up blaming moms for how kids turn out. Now we've got it in writing, in a scientific journal. So the next time someone rolls their eyes at a child's behavior and says, "well her mom..." I'm going to say, "ahem, what about her DAD?"
And it goes the other way. Dads should get more credit when they're emotionally present. Props to you good dads who shower your kids with love and attention. Your love matters just as much as moms'.
Do you think fathers should get more credit and blame for how well-adjusted their kids are?
Image via Qole Pejorian/Flickr