Often, Father's Day finds children -- adult and younger -- reflecting on fatherly talents such as hot dog-grilling, tent-pitching and ball-throwing.
But psychologist Laura Padilla-Walker and colleagues at Brigham Young University in Orem, Utah, suggest that a more important debt we owe Dad might have little to do with barbecues on a Sunday and a lot to do with persistence: learning how to tough it out when things get rough.
In a multiyear study of more than 300 families, the researchers sifted through self-reported data and found that an "authoritative" style of parenting in fathers -- in which they "listen to their children, have a close relationship, set appropriate rules, but also grant appropriate freedoms," as Walker put it in an email -- was significantly associated with persistence in their adolescent children.
Mothers' parenting was not.
"These findings suggest that persistence may be another behavior that is more clearly influenced by fathers than it is by mothers, and indeed, may be one of the mechanisms through which fathers help to protect their children,” the team wrote, in a study describing the research released Friday in the Journal of Early Adolescence.