Children are what their parents teach them. The initial learning and personality building of any child begin with its parents. Whether you’re a working parent or a homemaker the quality time and conversations you share with your child are as important as your child’s first primary teacher.
And more often than not, a mother’s role is considered to be more important and influential on the child. While this is true, we should not neglect or forget how a father can shape his child’s life and personality. A new research at Michigan State University is focusing on how vital a dad’s role is in their child’s development.
A dad’s role matters and sometimes may even have a negative impact despite the mother’s optimistic mood or actions. But to make some positive choices and changes, it is important to understand just how vital your role is. This gives you a great amount of motivation.
How Does A Dad’s Mood Affects Child Development?
In the United States, parents are often offered a program called Early Head Start to help families push their children in the right direction and prepare them for preschool and elementary school. The course is not for all families and is available only to qualified families (sometimes based on income, location or a parent or child health/developmental diagnosis).
Researchers at Michigan State conducted a survey of the 730 families enrolled in Early Head Start in 17 states nationwide. They studied the impact of parental stress and mental issues on the child and study the intensity of the impact on the child’s cognitive and social development. The findings showed that a father’s parental stress level can negatively impact a child’s cognitive and language development of a toddler.
The study also included the mother’s interactions with the child. It was found that a father who’s extensively stressed can delay his child’s development. Boys suffered a greater impact than girls. Researchers further found that a parent’s mental health had significant effects on their toddler’s behavior. Unresolved mental issues had a negative impact on the child so far as to changing the kid’s behavior. A father’s mental stress and health can alter a child’s social behavior as late as 5th grade.
How Can A Dad Have A Positive Impact On The Child?
The research has shown a clear connection between a father’s parental stress and mental health, and his child’s development. It is of primary concern for dads to control parental stress and seek support if they’re suffering from any mental issues. Here a few tips for all you dads who are undergoing parental stress or other problems.
- Stress is inevitable – Parental stress is inevitable. Being a parent is a big change and comes with responsibilities and an abundance of stress. Just accepting this fact and seeing it as normal does half the coping mechanism. All parents experience stress.
- Seek Support – Take help from your family or friends. If you’re close to your dad talk to him and ask him about his initial days of parenthood. This might work with your uncle or your friends who have recently joined the dad club. If you don’t find any of these comforting then you always have the internet. Google, Facebook and parenting blogs give you all the support and information you need.
- Know your stress triggers – Identifying what triggers your stress can help you reduce or eliminate the frequency. Sometimes, these trigers cannot be eliminated but being aware of them helps you to be proactive and work through the stressor. If you find that lack of sleep makes you more stressful, you should revise your sleeping schedules.
- Seek treatment – If you’re suffering from mental depression reach out to a medical practitioner or a mental health professional. Treating depression naturally, reduces your stress levels and helps you lead a more positive life. Depression isn’t common among parents but that’s no reason to feel ashamed of it.
Being a dad is a big role which has its own comforts and discomforts. With the changes in financial structure and future plans, it may feel a mother’s role is much easier. While mothers are unimaginably important this study shows that dads have an equal role too.