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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You can read many published articles at no charge:

  Academia   Geoff W Sutton     ResearchGate   Geoffrey W Sutton 


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

Monday, March 9, 2020


Stoning a Rebellious Son?

"If someone has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, 19 his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. 20 They shall say to the elders, “This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a glutton and a drunkard.” 21 Then all the men of his town are to stone him to death. You must purge the evil from among you. All Israel will hear of it and be afraid."  
          Deuteronomy 21:18-21 New International Version (NIV)

It’s hard to imagine more severe discipline than this oft quoted text from the Bible! Obviously, stoning is way beyond what we would call child abuse today. In our age, hitting children is illegal in some places and a violation of various policies in other places. Certainly, there is no justification for taking a son’s life for “stubborn and rebellious” behavior.

As you might expect, conservative Christian scholars have addressed this verse. No credible Christian leaders consider stoning to be a Christian way to treat sons. So, what does the verse have to do with Christian discipline? This, when Christians look to the Bible for guidance, they must be aware that Christians do not have to include the ancient laws of Israel in their discipline plans. You may also note that there is no evidence this law was ever put applied.

Sure, you may be curious about this old law about stoning. Unfortunately, if you look up what others have written, you will find many opinions. If you remain curious about the verse, I suggest looking at the information about the “rebellious son” in the Jewish Virtual Library online.

Good parenting is about relationships.

Discipline with Respect takes a distinctly Christian approach based on the loving relationship between Jesus and the church family illustrated in the New Testament texts.

 Parents in a loving relationship with children will focus on encouraging responsible and respectful behavior toward their parents and others—including themselves.

Christians are mindful of the letters of Ephesians (6:4) and Colossians (3:21) warning fathers against provoking their children to anger.

Negative consequences belong in the context of a loving relationship 
and a plan that emphasizes positive consequences for following the rules.

Discipline programs do include negative consequences linked to what happens in life. That is, depending on how we act as adults, we lose the privilege of interacting with others, lose jobs, lose opportunities, and pay fines. Thus, losing privileges, losing opportunities, and paying for mistakes are among the negative consequences for misbehavior covered in Discipline with Respect.

Also, lead a discussion with this low-priced Christian Parenting leader's guide.

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...