FRIDAY, June 15 (HealthDay News) – Children learn persistence from their fathers, according to a new study, and this skill can lead to better performance at school and a reduced risk of criminal behavior.

The study included adolescents aged 11 to 14 in 325 two-parent families; they were followed for several years by researchers from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.

About 52 percent of the fathers in the study exhibited above-average levels of authoritative parenting. The children of these fathers were significantly more likely to develop persistence, which led to better outcomes at school and lower levels of delinquency.

The findings were published June 15 in the Journal of Early Adolescence.

“There are relatively few studies that highlight the unique role of fathers,” study co-author Laura Padilla-Walker, a professor in BYU’s School of Family Life, said in a university news release. “This research also helps to establish that traits such as persistence – which can be taught – are key to a child’s life success.”

The researchers emphasized that authoritative parenting is different from authoritarian parenting and has three basic features: children feel warmth and love from their father; children are granted an appropriate level of autonomy; and fathers emphasize accountability and the reasons behind rules.

Although this study included two-parent families, the researchers suggested that single parents may still be able to help teach their children about persistence.

“Fathers should continue to be involved in their children’s lives and engage in high-quality interactions, even if the quantity of those interactions might be lower than is desirable,” Padilla-Walker said.

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