by Staff writer
A recent large-scale study has confirmed that a father’s love is just as important to a child’s emotional development as a mother’s.
An assessment of over 10,000 children that participated in the study revealed how a cold or distant father can damage a child’s life, sometimes for decades to come.
The research also reinforced how important it is for children of divorced and separated parents to spend equal time with both their fathers and mothers.
Researcher Professor Ronald Rohner said that fatherly love is key to a child’s early development and hopes his findings will motivate more men to become involved in caring for their offspring.
‘In the US, Great Britain and Europe, we have assumed for the past 300 years that all children need for normal healthy development is a loving relationship with their mother,’ he said.
‘And that dads are there as support for the mother and to support the family financially but are not required for the healthy development of the children.
‘But that belief is fundamentally wrong. We have to start getting away from that idea and realize the dad’s influence is as great, and sometimes greater, than the mother’s.’
Professor Rohner’s research also found that although rejection by either parent is traumatizing for a child, being rejected by your father can do far greater and long-lasting emotional damage than being rejected by your mother.
Rohner and co-author Abdul Khaleque found that in response to rejection by their parents, children tend to feel more anxious and insecure, as well as more hostile and aggressive toward others.
The pain of rejection — especially when it occurs over a period of time in childhood — tends to linger into adulthood, making it more difficult for adults who were rejected as children to form secure and trusting relationships with their intimate partners.