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How Your Father Influences The Way You Raise Your Own Kids

It’s good to have a strong connection between generations. After all, how else would Picard be able to coax Cpt. Kirk away from the Nexus to help him defeat Soran on Veridian III?

But sometimes intergenerational influences aren’t as awesome as a Star Trek movie crossover extravaganza. Sometimes they suck (you know, like Deep Space Nine). Which is why you need to check the Data and consider how your relationship with your parents might affect your kid.

What You Think Is More Important Than What They Did
Way back in 1992, people were earnestly trying to figure out if disaffected parents would have disaffected kids. And if those kids would later grow up to be disaffected parents and raise disaffected kids … you get the idea. One group of researchers found that it was almost certainly true that your parents affect the way you interact with your kids. But it was less likely what they actually did and more your perception of what they did. But luckily not your Inception of what they did, or we’d all still be confused.

flickr / Jennifer Woodard Maderazo

flickr / Jennifer Woodard Maderazo

Unless What They Did Was Violent
A 2009 study published in Developmental Psychology suggested that the emotional environment a child is raised in can have a powerful influence that child’s parenting style later in life.

The study followed 209 male “juvenile delinquents” (who all hopefully dressed like James Dean) into adulthood. Their parenting methods connected to problem behaviors held over from youth upon starting families of their own. So a child conditioned with violent discipline would likely have anger issues that would then influence his parenting style. Meaning suddenly the little James Deans had a Giant problem.

Maybe Talk To Pop Before Junior Arrives
The need to explore your relationship with your dad pre-baby has suddenly become a bit more pressing in the light of one last study published by the American Psychological Association in 2010.

flickr / Tony Alter

flickr / Tony Alter

After weekly interviews with study participants about their daily stresses, they found something interesting. According to the study, “Men who reported having a good relationship with their father during childhood were more likely to be less emotional when reacting to stressful events in their current daily lives than those who had a poor relationship.” Thanks a lot, dad.

What makes this information so much more troubling is the fact that researchers have found a link between a dad’s prenatal stress and their child’s ability to deal with stuff later in life. Some reflection about the old man – preferably undertaken while listening to this – might be in order before you have a kid of your own who you’ll similarly influence.