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A father’s love contributes as much and sometimes more to a child’s personality development


Father's influence crucial in childhood
Father’s influence crucial in childhood (Thinkstock photos/Getty Images)
A father’s love contributes as much — and sometimes more — to a child’s personality development as does a mother’s love, say researchers

No one can deny the importance of the contribution of a mother in the development of a child’s personality. And often due to this reason, the importance of a father’s contribution to the same gets overshadowed. When it comes to the impact of a father’s love versus that of a mother, results from more than 500 studies suggest that while children and adults often experience more or less the same level of acceptance or rejection from each parent, the influence of one parent’s rejection — often times the father’s — can be much greater than the other’s.

So what could be the factors behind these findings? Clinical psychologist Dr Kanan Khatau Chikhal says that around 90 to 95 per cent of adult problems has some origin in their childhood experiences with their parents. This reason however is not for people to blame their parents but to demonstrate the impact of parental styles. And therefore, its no doubt that besides, mothers, fathers too play a key role here.

She recounts the case of a 38-year-old female patient who is finding a difficulty in choosing a partner to get married. After counselling, it came to light that the problem somewhat had its roots going back to her childhood. She had a strict, authoritative father who imposed lot of rules at home. As a result, today her perception of marriage is that of, like being in a cage. She fears losing her identity and her freedom. Many a times, repression can lead to passive aggressiveness.

Consultant psychiatrist Dr Milan Balakrishnan agrees that the importance of a father’s contribution to a child’s development sometimes gets over shadowed. He says that traditionally, fathers have always been seen as authoritative and disciplinarians. And if a father tends to be aggressive, a child may be become withdrawn or become a rebel. Also, if a father indulges in domestic violence, it can lead to anxiety disorders in the child.

However, on the brighter side, in today’s age of working mothers, fathers are making a significant contribution in children’s upbringing and personality development unlike earlier times. This is now being seen in urban areas, where fathers more educated and aware about parenting. Also, unlike their rural counterparts, fathers in urban areas are more sensitive and understand the importance of projecting a good, healthy impression on their children.

What fathers can do…
– Fathers needs to be careful while talking to the mother in a child’s presence. If a father constantly runs down the mother, the child grows up with a poor impression.
– Fathers should make it a point to appreciate their children at least three to four times a day. This helps to build their self-esteem.
– At least have one meal a day with the kids and remember to distance yourself from your phone during that time.
– Bathing your kids when they are little will help in bonding with them.

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