University of Mississippi
Parental relationships are an important part of any child’s development. It is theorized that a generational difference appears in the relationship between fathers and their children. The primary focus of this theory is based on the involvement of fathers and the role it plays on development. The Fatherhood Affection Questionnaire was used to assess this hypothesis. This questionnaire consisted of 20 questions, and results were compared between two generational groups. The older generational group was comprised of 20 adults aged 40-59. The younger generational group was comprised of 20 adults aged 20-39. According to the information gathered, the older group of adults experienced less affection, as children, in their relationships with their fathers. However, the fathers in this age group were more present in the lives of their children. The younger group of adults experienced more affection, as children, in their relationships with their fathers. However, their fathers played a significantly smaller role in their environment. This supports the theory that there is a generational difference in the affection displayed by fathers in their relationships with their children.
The Impact that Father Involvement in a Child’s Environment has on Development
Even in utero, the genes of a child’s parent influences its growth and development. The child’s physical appearance and temperament will be based on its inherited parental genetics. It is clearly evident that parents directly influence the development of their child in the genetic sense. However, upon birth, the child enters into a new environment, and its parents become the basis to its interaction to the world. As a result, an important question arises. How does childhood environment and interactions with parents influence the development of a child? Studies show that parents greatly influence the development of their child in all areas (Ormrod, 2008). The most important of these areas is psychosocial development. However, parents also play a critical part in the emotional, moral, and social development of their children.
Relationships are extremely important to every person’s social and emotional development. One of the most consequential of these relationships is the family relationship. Parental relationships have been found to affect many aspects of social development including social skills, gender identity, and sexuality (Amato, 2000). The role a father plays on this development has become more researched as the rates of single and divorced mothers grow (Staier, 2008). Many aspects of a child’s development are supported by the presence of a father and weakened by the absence of the father. Because the father/child relationship plays such a vital role on environmental development, the recent breakdown of the family has caused some concern (Staier, 2008).
A child’s psychological health is linked to acceptance or rejection by their parents (Dick, 2004). According to Eriksson’s psychosocial developmental theory, individuals encounter a specific crisis at various stages of development. Toddlers, at the first stage of psychosocial development, will encounter trust versus mistrust. In order to develop trust, a child must experience enough trust at this stage, in his daily situations and close relationships (Ormrod, 2008). Family breakdown has caused many fathers to play a distant, or absent role in their children’s lives. When the father/child bond is broken at Eriksson’s first stage, the child will learn mistrust. According to Amato (2000), children will also perceive an absent parent as a sign that they are unwanted. Mackey & Mackey (2003) discovered that children, especially boys, who feel that they are not wanted, develop hostile aggression. In fact, they say that the absence of a…