By Colin Allen, published on February 1, 2003 - last reviewed on June 9, 2016
Children who live with highly antisocial fathers develop
increasingly severe behavioral problems the longer they cohabitate.
According to a study published in the recent issue of
Child Development, quality time with Dad on its own
may not always be the best way to prevent children from misbehaving.
Instead, fathers who are prone to rude and disruptive behavior must
actively work toward becoming a dependable source of emotional and social
support for their kids.
In some ways, this study does confirm the commonly held belief that
the more time spent with a child, the better off that child is: Kids of
gregarious fathers were also found to have more behavioral problems.
Conventional wisdom was only turned on its head amongst youngsters
sharing a roof with antisocial fathers, who as a result exhibited more
instances of temper tantrums, cheating, swearing and physical attacks
than their peers.
Sara Jaffee, Ph.D., who headed up the study at King's College in
London, notes that there may be a genetic component to her findings. More
research is necessary, however, before hereditary risk of antisocial
behavior can be identified.