Showing posts with label self-discipline. Show all posts
Showing posts with label self-discipline. Show all posts

Sunday, June 18, 2023

What do fathers contribute to father-son relationships?


The Importance of Warm and Involved Dads

to Boys' Abilities and Behavior

As a clinician who evaluated and treated children and adolescents, parent-child relationships were often crucial to successful outcomes. Many of the children I saw in therapy were brought in by their mothers because of concerns about behavioral control, learning, or both.

Claire Baker’s 2017 article provides a nice summary of studies in her literature review as well as a look at her study focused on father-son relationships.

What we know

As psychologists, we know the generally accepted truism that fathers are important to the development of children.

In fact, those youngsters who have involved dads are stronger than others in both learning and behavioral control.

Hugs are great. Children with warm dads were better at reading and math in Elementary and Middle school.

In studies of teens, warm and supportive father-son relationships are linked to higher positive self-esteem, lower depression and anxiety, and less disruptive or delinquent behavior.

What Claire Baker did

Baker looked at data from 10,700 children born in 2001 in the US. The data covered the time from birth to kindergarten.

She looked at early skill development:

1 academic skills such as vocabulary development and number skills

2. social and emotional skills such as attention and parent-child engagement

She also assessed fathers’ warm interactions and type of discipline.

What Claire discovered

A combination of father’s warmth and learning stimulation predicted how well boys scored on measures of reading and math as well as their sons’ social-emotional skills.

There are more findings and complex relationship analyses, which you can read in the journal article listed below.


Claire E. Baker at Applied Developmental Science, Human Development and

Family Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA



Baker, C. E. (2017). Father-son relationships in ethnically diverse families: Links to boys’ cognitive and social emotional development in preschool. Journal of Child and Family Studies26(8), 2335–2345.


Read more about respectful parenting in

Discipline with Respect available on AMAZON and other stores

Geoffrey W. Sutton, PhD is Emeritus Professor of Psychology. He retired from a clinical practice and was credentialed in clinical neuropsychology and psychopharmacology. His website is


See Geoffrey Sutton’s books on   AMAZON       or  GOOGLE STORE

Follow on    FACEBOOK   Geoff W. Sutton    

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Dr. Sutton’s posts are for educational purposes only. See a licensed mental health provider for diagnoses, treatment, and consultation.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Setting Goals Builds Self-Discipline

In Discipline with Respect, I recommend parents set goals after identifying the behavioral lessons they would like their children to learn by a certain age. Setting goals is a good idea for adults and children. When parents set goals, they also serve as role models for their children.

Anytime is a good time to set goals. So, if you are reading this at the beginning of a year or at another time, the psychological value of goal-setting remains important to helping people make achievable life-changes.

Daphna Oyeserman (USC) and her team studied the effects of measuring time on planning for a future event like saving for retirement. It turns out that the way participants “framed” time influenced their plans to take action. Instead of thinking in terms of years, it might be best to think in terms of days (Psychological Science). And its best to think in terms of months rather than years.

Parents can apply this kind of thinking to behavioral goals. For example, if you want your child to develop financial responsibility by age 16 and your child just turned 12, you might think 4-years is far in the future—and you have plenty of time. But if you think in terms of days (1,465), you might be more inclined to make a list of tasks to improve the odds your teen will have the self-discipline and other skills crucial to responsible financial behavior. Fortunately, many parents help children develop responsible financial behavior before age 12. Unfortunately, some children grow up with a limited understanding.

There are other factors to help adults and children reach their goals. As I mention in Discipline with Respect, goals should be realistic, specific, measurable, and dated. I also recommend working on only 2-3 goals at a time.

1. Realistic goals are those a person can reach with additional effort and encouragement. Most of us can increase our exercise by a small percentage of steps or minutes, decrease our consumption of sugar treats, increase our savings by a small percentage, help one additional person, and so forth.

2. Specific goals are stated in precise language such as units of money saved, pounds of weight lost or gained, words written, pages read, days of temper outbursts, or steps walked.

3. Measuring progress is easy for those goals having natural units as mentioned above. Other goals may require some additional thought. You may come up with a quality rating instead of a concrete number. For example, you could ask for feedback on the quality of a quilting project from expert quilters. I often ask for feedback on my writing projects, which helps me gauge how close I am to reaching publication quality before submitting a paper to a journal editor. The chapter on feedback can help parents give specific feedback to children on their behavior.

4. Finally, we help ourselves when we attach a date to a goal. As suggested in the research study above, we might be better to think in terms of days rather than years. Parents and teachers can help children by thinking in terms of 90 days to complete a project.

You may be able to tell from this post that Discipline with Respect is about developing responsible behavior. Although I discuss the usual principles of how to use consequences in discipline programs, I view discipline as education—all the things we do to help children become mature, responsible, and respectful adults.

Connections and Links to Resources

My Page
My Books   AMAZON
FACEBOOK   Geoff W. Sutton
TWITTER  @Geoff.W.Sutton
LinkedIN Geoffrey Sutton  PhD
Publications (many free downloads)
     Academia   Geoff W Sutton   (PhD)
     ResearchGate   Geoffrey W Sutton   (PhD)

What do fathers contribute to father-son relationships?

  The Importance of Warm and Involved Dads to Boys' Abilities and Behavior As a clinician who evaluated and treated children and adole...