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BYU Study: There’s a “Sticking Point” with Dads

PHOTO: Father playing football with daughter. Photo Credit: Deborah Smith
PHOTO: Father playing football with daughter. Photo Credit: Deborah Smith
June 18, 2012

PROVO, Utah - Dad was in the limelight for Father's Day on Sunday, but new research from Brigham Young University (BYU) shines a light on dad's talents the rest of the year - and one of them is a "sticking point." BYU professor Laura Walker at the School of Family Life says teaching children, especially teens, to "stick to it" often comes from fathers - when kids feel warmth and love, accountability and autonomy.

"That, in and of itself, is fostering this positive behavior in children: wanting to keep on when things get hard and difficult."

Walker explains the key is authoritative parenting. She points out that is very different from authoritarian parenting, which can be detrimental to a child's development.

Moms, too, can impart persistence to their children, Walker says. However, one of the points of the study is to add to the "positives" about fathers. She has found that dads often are overlooked in parenting research.

"There's this growing body of literature, including ours, suggesting that when you have both mom and dad, there are things dad uniquely fosters in children that moms aren't doing quite as much."

Her advice for fathers: Don't feel bad if you're busy or life situations mean you don't have a lot of time to spend with your children. Just make sure you stay involved and are focused when time is available for the kids.

Walker and her researchers have been following 325 families for several years. Their findings have been published in the Journal of Early Adolescence, http://jea.sagepub.com.

Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - UT