Families, communities, and nations are stronger when fathers are involved physically, mentally, and emotionally with their children. It is no secret that the traditional family structure has suffered due to progressive ideology that downplays the important different between men and women. Despite the damage down to family structures, Phil Shiver wrote that “fathers play an incredibly important role in the lives of their children.”
A recent study by researchers at Penn State University, however, has rediscovered the distinctive role that fathers play in raising healthy, mature children.
The study fund specifically that closeness with fathers serves a distinctive role in helping children weather the turbulent years of adolescence by positively affecting the self-esteem, weight management, and prevalence of depressive symptoms in both girls and boys, the Penn State report said.
Anna Hochgraf, a doctoral candidate in human development and family studies at the university, who led the research project, noted that while emotionally close relationships with both fathers and mothers had positive effects on children, fathers had a broader influence.
“Adolescents tend to feel emotionally closer to their mothers than to their fathers and mothers tend t4o have supportive conversations with their children more frequently than fathers do,” Hochgraf said. “This may make emotional closeness with fathers more salient and, in turn, protective against these common adjustment problems experienced during adolescence.”
The study involved “388 adolescents from 202 two-parent families with both fathers and mothers.” The researchers gathered information from adolescents who were between the age of 12 and 20 years old. They “inquired about participants’ weight concerns, symptoms of depression, and self-esteem, and measured the intimacy between parents and their kids.” The researchers found “distinctive effects of relationships between children and each of their parents at different times during adolescence” with varied results.
For example, the study found that “father-youth intimacy was associated with fewer weight concerns across most of adolescence for girls and boys, and mother-youth intimacy was associated with boys’ but not girls’ weight concerns, and only in early adolescence.”
“Father-youth intimacy was associated with fewer depressive symptoms for boys and girls across most of adolescence, whereas mother-youth intimacy was associated with fewer depressive symptoms in mid-adolescence,” researchers said.
“Finally, father-youth intimacy was associated with higher self-esteem from early through mid-adolescence for boys and girls, whereas mother-youth intimacy was associated with higher self-esteem across most of adolescence for girls [but only] during early and late adolescence for boys,” they added.
According to the researchers, their “study highlights the special role fathers play in raising children and underscores the importance, generally, of parents establishing emotionally close relationships with their children.” The study supports what this writer has always stated. Strong families need involved fathers, and strong families will strengthen communities and nations.