Whether your pops is a Coach Taylor or Clark Griswald, it seems like the endearing (sometimes embarrassing) dad gene has been around since our favorite old man’s hipster days. While some things about dads will never change (no matter how high-tech his Father’s Day gifts get), Dr. Terri Orbuch, relationship expert and author of 5 Simple Steps to Take Your Marriage from Good to Great, says that the evolution of men and women’s social roles has brought a change in fatherhood — a change for the better (these Father’s Day quotes prove it), and one that millennials can learn a lot from.
“In the past, fathers were seen as providers and the people who brought home the bread,” Dr. Orbuch says. “But in the last few decades, that has changed. People in families need two providers now: sometimes financially, but also emotionally.”
A key finding of Dr. Orbuch’s study of 373 couples for almost three decades is that fathers set the stage for success in children’s relationships. As the role of dads shifts toward being an emotional provider, this insight is more important than ever, especially for women.
“Good relationships for daughters start with their fathers,” Dr. Orbuch says. “Daughters observe fathers — we watch how they treat our moms, their parents and even waitstaff at a restaurant. We look to them to see how they respect others, how they communicate and how they handle conflict.”
In this way, fathers model relationship behaviors for their children. This, according to Dr. Orbuch, is one of their most important roles: to not simply model behaviors, but to model healthy behaviors, such as conflict resolution. The lessons a child learns from this model correlate directly to the way they structure their own relationships — romantic, platonic and professional — later in life.
If a father has fulfilled this role successfully, most children (especially daughters) will opt for a life partner who mirrors a lot of their father’s characteristics. They’ll also expect love, support and direct communication from their partners, since they got those from their father, or saw him treat their mother well. Conversely, if a child did not have a good relationship with his or her father, they will most likely select a partner who’s the opposite of their dad.
You can pay your dad back for showing you what a healthy relationship looks like by including him in your friendships and romantic relationships. Dr. Orbuch recommends asking your pops for advice about your own relationship, because chances are that dad gene will give him all the right answers.
Have any other tips for including Dad in your relationships? Let us know @BritandCo!
(Photo via Getty)