Dads2Dads: Impact on adolescents
Posted: Friday, April 5, 2013 7:00 pm
By TOM TOZER and BILL BLACK
A study by Penn State University of 200 families discovered that the more one-on-one time adolescents spent with their father, the higher their self-esteem. The more time spent with their dads in social settings, the better their social skills. The results of the study were published in the journal, Child Development.
“Our research shows that, well into the adolescent years, teens continue to spend time with their parents and that this shared time, especially shared time with fathers, has important implications for adolescents’ psychological and social adjustment.”
The adolescent years are crucial
As children approach their teenage years, around the age of 15, they appear to slip into the more rebellious behavior that is commonly experienced by most parents. However, the findings of the study are important because it reveals the significance of dads spending time with their younger children. Not only should dads make this a priority, but kids in their pre- and early teen years are still content to hang out at home. What an opportunity!
The research team readily acknowledged that their subjects were working, middle-class families who lived in small cities, towns and rural communities. More studies are needed, they said, to explore families of greater diversity.
Less affected by peer pressure
This is good information for parents, especially dads, who have young children and wonder how they will survive the coming perfect storm teenage-hood brings. It would appear that the time to create quality bonding opportunities is when sons and daughters are in late elementary and junior high school. According to the research, this is when they are more receptive to staying at home and fitting in with the family.
Ann Crouter, dean of Penn State’s College of Health and Human Development, points out that numerous other studies reveal that kids who spend more time with their families exhibit less negative behavior and are more resistant to peer pressure. This presents a great opportunity for both mom and dad to maintain a home atmosphere of comfort, fun, enjoyment and security, most especially when their children are still content to be children.
Obviously the solidarity of the family unit has a huge influence on whether or not the home is a place where a kid wants to be. We all read about and perhaps some of us experience firsthand those unfortunate situations in which children would rather be anywhere but home—sometimes for good reason.
But the point needs to be emphasized. In homes where there is structure fortified by love, young children will have a better chance of getting through those later teenage years and even prosper if parents spend focused quality time with them. Furthermore, the aforementioned study holds up dad as the parent who most especially needs to give his undivided attention to his adolescent child—both one-on-one and in group interaction. It could make all the difference in a kid’s world.
Contact Tom Tozer of Nashville and Bill Black of Murfreesboro at Dads2Dads@comcast.net. Visit www.dads2dads.wordpress.com
Published in The WCP 4.4.13