Friedrich Nietzsche said, “He who does not have a father should get one .” The philosopher wanted to say that fathers are important both for the development of children and for mothers. In fact, both the love and rejection of both parents can profoundly affect their children’s emotional balance , self-esteem, and mental health.
Several studies found that the absence of the father causes adjustment problems in their children, as well as the surge of destructive behaviors as they grow older. Of course, their presence and understanding have the opposite effect: facilitating the child’s adjustment and promoting healthy psychological development.
The mental state of the father directly affects the children
Researchers from Michigan State University conducted a study that looked at the importance of parents in the lives of their children . During the research, they collected data from 730 families across the country.
These psychologists focused on analyzing the effects of parental stress and mental problems such as depression and anxiety in children. Thus, they discovered that these problems influenced the relationship of parents with their children and therefore also their development.
Obviously, it’s a predictable result, kind of like reinventing the wheel. But the most interesting thing is that the father’s state of mind was found to have long-term implications for his children , especially related to social skills such as self-control and the ability to collaborate with their peers.
For example, it was found that when the father suffered from depression during the first years of his children’s life, this influenced the social development of the children compared to the mother’s depression or anxiety. The research also found that a high level of parental stress when children are 2 to 3 years old is particularly detrimental to cognitive and language development.
The curious detail is that these problems arose regardless of the influence that positive mothers could have. But, as expected, the father’s influence was more evident in boys than in girls, probably because they identify more with the father figure and therefore their behavior has a greater influence.
The damage caused by a father’s lack of love
In recent years, psychologists have begun to further investigate the role of parents in child development. Thus, different studies have emerged that highlight the importance of the father figure. It was found that when children have a parent actively involved in their training, they explore their environment with greater confidence and are more emotionally stable as they grow older. They also tend to do better academically and develop better social skills.
Recently, some psychologists at the University of Connecticut analyzed data from 36 studies involving 10,000 parents and their sons and daughters. These researchers wanted to understand how a cold or distant parent could affect their children’s development. They then discovered that children who had been rejected by their parents showed signs of anxiety and insecurity, as well as more aggressive and hostile behavior.
These results highlight the fact that fathers are as important to the psychological well-being of their children as mothers, and they bear a great responsibility for their children’s emotional and cognitive development.
How can parents improve their mood?
Fatherhood is not an easy role, especially for new parents. It is normal for fathers, as mothers, to have their fears, insecurities and worries. Added to this is that many parents feel compelled to appear strong and supportive to their partner, putting them at greater risk of feeling emotionally overwhelmed. In fact, this situation makes them more prone to high stress, which will have an impact on children.
Recognize the signs of stress . The first problem that many parents have is that, because they are very involved in their daily routine and feel obligated to support the family, they do not even recognize the signs of stress. Therefore, the first step is to acknowledge that you are feeling anxious or stressed. It is also important to learn to identify stress triggers in everyday life, eliminate them, or at least minimize their impact.
Have a space for yourself. It is important that parents have their own life, as well as the care and attention they can give their children. Therefore, make sure to spend quality time with your partner and not completely abandon your entertainments. This will allow you to relax and recharge your batteries. Remember, to take care of your child you must first take care of yourself.
Express what you feel. Talking about your fears, worries, and anxieties will help you feel better. There is no need to hide these feelings. In fact, it’s important for your partner to be aware of and supportive of your concerns about being a good parent, feelings that will strengthen the bonds that hold you together.