Showing posts with label parenting is about relationships. Show all posts
Showing posts with label parenting is about relationships. 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

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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.

Monday, May 21, 2018

When you hold a child's hands you hold the future

A small 20-month old hand holds my right hand whilst wandering forward one small step at a time. A bird chirping, a leaf blowing, and rocks strewn across our path capture his downward gaze. He pauses to examine a pebble. And I think. I hold the future in my hand.

I look down and glimpse the sense of wonder and appreciation a little boy has for our world. In a moment of time I feel hopeful that the future will be brighter if his upstretched hand is ready to grasp the tomorrow as firmly as he grasps the present.

In the early years of a child’s life we hold a child's future in our hands. We do not make all the difference in their lives, but we do make an important difference. For a brief moment in time, our strong hands lift them up when they are weary and hold them close when strange sounds and images trouble their souls. Our hands point them in the right direction, show them how to write, cook, build, and celebrate. 

When the future comes close, our hands grab their shoulders in a hearty well-done embrace. Then we wave good bye. The future is theirs to hold.

Parenting is about deep and caring relationships built one small moment upon another. Respectful discipline flows naturally as parents bridge the gap between the present and the future. This is why I wrote Discipline with Respect. I believe parents hold the key to the future in the palm of their hands. Parents, and all their helpers, enable children to create the future of the world.



My Page

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 Geoff W. Sutton

TWITTER  @Geoff.W.Sutton

LinkedIN Geoffrey Sutton  PhD

Publications (many free downloads)
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Friday, May 18, 2018

Evidence-Based Parenting 11 Principles of Discipline with Respect

Parents have been raising children to become leaders for thousands of years. Evidence-based parenting is simply a collection of principles that have been tested--tested in current studies and tested over time.

Respectful parenting treats children with the love and respect all people deserve without giving up the appropriate boundary between parents and children.

The world is full of people who are loving, respectful and kind. Parents and children can change the world--even if it is one person at a time.

11 Evidence-Based  Principles included in Discipline with Respect

Introduction: The Principle of Respect     

1. The Principle of Purpose     

2. The Principle of Advertising     

3. The Principle of Leadership by Example      

4. The Principle of Coaching    

5. The Principles of Encouragement      

6. The Principles of Changing Behavior: Guidelines      

7. The Principles of Changing Behavior: Applications      

8. The Principle of the Pure Spring      

9. The Principle of Choice      

10. The Principle of Relationship Repair      
Understanding Forgiveness and Reconciliation

Two Versions of Discipline with Respect

          with scriptural examples for each principle

Inexpensive Discussion Guide


My Page

My Books  

 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)

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Have You Considered Parenting Time Limits?

Jennifer is a 30-year-old mother. Her daughter Chelsea is three. Jennifer has about 13 years left to help Chelsea get ready for adulthood--that's if you believe 16-year-olds will listed to parental guidance!

Scott has a 12-year-old son, Micah. Scott has about 4 years until Micah reaches age 16.

Sure, parents can continue to advise their children into the adult years. After all, in western cultures, adolescence seems to go into the early 20s.

Parenting has a time limit

When you consider the time available to help children become mature, responsible adults, parents need to decide on their priorities. I'm not saying parents ought to cut back on fun and games. I am saying that if you want your children to learn specific values, atitudes, and skills, then plan to do most of that teaching during childhood and early adolescence.

When children enter the teen years, the parent-child relationshp changes. At some point, children begin teaching parents a thing or two--including values, attitudes, and skills.

Time flies.

It isn't long before your children are teenagers-- busy with school, part-time work, and peer group activities. They may be applying for work or college. You may or may not be happy with their peers. You may wish they had other plans for employment or college. But the chances are, your ability to influence your older teen have diminished considerably.

Why not make the most of childhood?

Think about what you would really like them to know, value, appreciate, and respect.

Do they complete age appropriate responsibilities at home?

Do they complete age appropriate work at school?

Do they show respect for themselves and their personal space?

Do they show respect to you, peers, siblings, and other adults?

Do they share your values?

Your parenting days are numbered. Make the most of them then, become friends for life.

Read more in Chapter 1 of Discipline with Respect

FREE DOWNLOAD on AMAZON or Read Free with Kindle Unlimited

Available in over 12 countries (English Language).

Also available, Christian Family Edition AMAZON

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Child Discipline is about Relationships

We all respond better to people whom we respect. And respect is easier when we have a positive relationship. Parenting is a long-term relationship. In Western cultures, physically close parent-child relationships can last more than 20 years. 

Parenting won’t look the same when a child is 5 or 15. But two people won’t enjoy a positive life-long relationship that is not built on love and respect.

Teacher-child relationships can last 10-months, which is still a long time. Foster-parent-child relationships can last for years. Other relationship time-frames will vary of course. But all relationships can last a lifetime when adults and children demonstrate love and respect for each other.

If you are a parent of young children in your 20s or 30s, you are probably pretty busy with daily living! You may have had the experience of catching yourself acting or sounding like one of your parents. These moments can help us think about our childhood experiences with discipline and parent-child relationships. What do you want your children to remember about their relationship with you when they are your age?

Holidays are also good times to reflect on the relationships we have with our parents. If they have passed away, we may think back to what the relationship was like. My point is not to dwell on any unpleasant memories but to focus on what we might want to do to ensure our children have a great relationship with us when they become adults.

We have a choice. We can continue to parent in some of the best ways we were parented. And we can choose to parent differently than the way we were raised. But if we don't think about it, we may repeat habits from the past--some good--some not so good. If we want to change, we need to get new ideas from observing others, reliable online sites, professionals, and reading a few good books.

Relationships are about love and trust in so many small ways. Love and trust build respect. As parents, we need to listen. Let children tell their stories even when they are agonizingly slow. When there are a few children, we arbitrate so each child has a voice and equal time. Listening to children is one way to communicate respect.

There are times when we must say no. There are times when children will lose privileges. But the negatives need not be what's typical of a parent-child relationship.

See more about love and respect in Discipline With Respect.


See the website for Discipline with Respect.

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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...