In past studies, researchers have examined moms and how they may be responsible for any negative or positive traits children develop as they grow up. In a new study published in the Personality and Social Psychology Review, however, researchers are saying that dads are actually more influential to a child’s development than most people realize. If a child views the father as the head of the family, for example, the dad's behavior may be responsible for however the kid turns out.


Looking into 36 studies from 1975 to 2010 (which involved nearly 1,400 adults and 8,600 children in 18 countries), researchers tried to find out if there was a connection between dads and their children’s negative behavior. The study focused on seven personality traits considered significant to what is called parental acceptance-rejection theory: aggression, independence, positive self-esteem, positive self-adequacy, emotional responsiveness, emotional stability, and positive worldview. These traits were then used to measure the participants’ experiences and development as noted in self-reported questionnaires.

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According to the results, those who felt rejection from their fathers were more likely to have low self-esteem, hostility, and negativity. Interestingly, acceptance didn't have such a strong association with positive attitudes. "Unfortunately, humans respond more dramatically to negative things," says study co-author Ronald Rohner, director of the Ronald and Nancy Rohner Center for the Study of Interpersonal Acceptance and Rejection at the University of Connecticut.

When it comes to raising children, it’s important to remember that rejection from either parent may have negative effects. Make sure that you and your partner avoid making your child feel neglected, and if neither of you are in a good mood, don't take it out on your child.


(Photo by Glenda Otero via

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