Although children need to know that both of their parents love and accept them, it is a father’s love that is critically important to personality development, says a new study published in the May 2012 issue of Personality and Social Psychology Review.
Researchers in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Connecticut analyzed 36 studies from around the world that focused on parental acceptance-rejection. The 36 studies involved a combined total of more than 10,000 participants.
Not surprising, individuals who felt rejected by their parents as children tend to be more anxious and feel less secure. Furthermore, individuals who felt rejected tend to have more trouble forming secure and trusting relationships with their intimate partners as adults.
An unexpected result of the study, though, was the correlation between an individual’s worldview and his or her perceptions of paternal acceptance. That is, people who identify themselves as feeling accepted by their fathers tend to be less anxious and more secure regardless of their perceptions of maternal acceptance.
In other words, a father’s love seems to be as important, if not more so, than a mother’s love in terms of personality development.
The main takeaway message of this study for a culture that largely participates in mother-blaming (that is, blaming the mother for any flaws that the child might have) is that fatherly love is critical to a person’s development.
As Ronald Rohner of the University of Connecticut and a co-author of the study says in a press release for the Society for Personality and Social Psychology:
“The great emphasis on mothers and mothering in America has led to an inappropriate tendency to blame mothers for children’s behavior problems and maladjustment when, in fact, fathers are often more implicated than mothers in the development of problems such as these.”
This study confirms the widely held belief that children need their daddies.
Is the father of your children involved in their lives? Was your father involved in your life?