“In our half-century of international research, we’ve not found any other class of experience that has as strong and consistent an effect on personality as does the experience of rejection — especially by parents in childhood,” says co-author Ronald Rohner, whose study appears in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Review.
“In many instances, fathers are as important developmentally as mothers. In some instances, they turn out to be even more important developmentally than mothers. And what we find extraordinary is that, sometimes, a mother’s influence drops out altogether.”
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The quotations above originate in a substantial newly-published study of the importance of parental acceptance to the well-being of children. Given Japan’s massively unreported and as-yet unrecognized, sanctioned abductions of children, this study is important for us to take note of here.
It is also important to note the observation above, which is consistent with an abundant research literature, concerning the fundamental role of fathers in the realization of children’s developmental paths. The abductions of children like Rui in Japan must be stopped. The situation could not be more urgent.
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Across decades of studies, with a total 10,943 adults and children, perceived paternal acceptance was significantly linked to less hostility; independence; healthy self-esteem; feelings of adequacy; emotional stability and responsiveness; and a positive world view.
By contrast, perceived paternal rejection was significantly linked to problems with anger or aggression; lower self-esteem; feelings of inadequacy; emotional instability and unresponsiveness; and a dim world view.
“There’s a very consistent worldwide effect of impaired psychologically adjustment wherever kids perceive themselves to be rejected by Mom or Dad. And that effect shows up more significantly for dads than for moms,” says Rohner, professor emeritus of family studies at the University of Connecticut.
To wit, a father’s rejection more strongly predicted four classes of child behavior than a mother’s: behavioral problems, substance abuse, depression and overall maladjustment.
A father’s love, meanwhile, more strongly predicted satisfaction and well-being, and acted as a better buffer against substance abuse and depression.
“We’ve assumed for years that all kids need for normal, healthy development is a loving relationship with Mom, and that dads are primarily there as financial supports for the family,” says Rohner. “We now see how fundamentally wrong that is.”
Gary Direnfeld, a social worker from Dundas, Ont., said he hopes the study will help quell the cultural tendency to treat mothers as both sole hero and villain in a child’s life — alternating between bashing and enshrining them, depending on the youngster’s behavior.
“We all want well-rounded children. Well, children are a product of two parents and both should be meaningfully involved wherever possible,” says Direnfeld, an expert on family life.
Please read this remarkable, conclusive study here: