After following 325 families over the span of several years, researchers from BYU’s School of Family Life report that fathers play a special role in teaching their children about persistence. “In our research we ask ‘Can your child stick with a task? Can they finish a project? Can they make a goal and complete it?'” said BYU professor Randal Day. “Learning to stick with it sets a foundation for kids to flourish and to cope with the stress and pressures of life.” Over time, lessons of persistence gained through fatherly parenting resulted in higher engagement in school and lower rates of delinquency.
What’s the Big Idea?
Fathers teach persistence through exhibiting authoritative parenting, which should not be confused with authoritarian parenting. Authoritative parenting means that children feel warmth and love from their father, that children are held accountable and the reasons behind rules are emphasized, and that children are granted an appropriate level of autonomy. “This research helps to establish that traits such as persistence — which can be taught — are key to a child’s life success,” said professor Laura Padilla-Walker, co-author of the new study.