In honor of Father’s Day, I wanted to highlight a study that shows the wonderful impact a good dad can have on his family.
This relates specifically to families with depressed mothers.
A study published last month detailed the depressed mom’s typical parenting style. She tends to be less sensitive to her child’s needs, and she acts intrusively by taking over when a child could be acting independently, disregarding the child in favor of her agenda. The children in these relationships show lower social engagement when interacting with their mothers.
The dads in these families tend to mimic the mom’s parenting style. The overall result is a family that doesn’t function as well as families with healthy mothers do. There’s less cohesion (emotional bonding), warmth, and expressiveness. There’s more conflict and affectionless control.
Here’s the good news: When a father is sensitive and nonintrusive and engages his children socially, the effects of the mother’s depression disappear. Families can be warm and cohesive despite the mother’s mental health.
So here’s to dads everywhere who are listening to their children, showing love, and making time for their families. You’re making a difference.
Go here to read more on the father’s impact on mental health.
Satu Woodland is owner and clinician of Mental Health Solutions, an integrative mental health practice located at Bown Crossing in Boise, Idaho. She sees children, adolescents, and adults. Information in this blog is not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider about decisions regarding your health.