As we go into this Father’s Day weekend, we’re thinking about how important supportive parent-child relationships are for teens who are struggling with anxiety, depression, addiction or mental illness. That’s why Shelterwood puts so much emphasis on treating the whole family.

As their children are beginning therapy, parents are also attending weekly counseling sessions and going through the Family Bridge program. Joint counseling sessions and family visits follow. Shelterwood also holds regular family retreat weekends that are designed to restore and rebuild relationships between teens and their parents.

Instinctually and anecdotally, we know that positive parent-child relationships—including father-child relationships—are a powerful force. The scientific research backs up what we know on a gut level, as well.

What does the data say good parent-child relationships can do for teens?

  • Self-worth: Close and affectionate parent-child relationships are associated with teenagers’ self-worth, concludes a 2016 study of more than 900 pairs of adult twins in Sweden and their adolescent children. Researchers were exploring whether the quality of relationships had an effect on self-worth, after accounting for genetics. It did!
  • Lessen the risk of depression: A 2017 study tracked the quality of relationships 498 at-risk teens had with their parents, using an attachment framework. Researchers found adolescents with avoidant or anxious parent relationships were more likely to have symptoms of depression. Teens with detached parent relationships had higher levels of delinquent behavior. The same year, a Spanish study also found that a decline in the quality of teens’ relationships with their parents was related to depression symptoms.
  • Teach them to be good parents, themselves: A long-term study in New Zealand measured the quality of relationships teenagers had with their parents at 14 and 15 years old. Fifteen years later, they found that those who had good parent relationships as adolescents grew up to score higher as parents themselves.
  • So much more: The Department of Health and Human Services lists additional, proven benefits of strong parent-child relationships: happiness, life satisfaction, lower emotional and physical distress, and decreased risky behaviors.

So take some time this weekend to tell a good father his high-quality parenting is scientifically proven to help his children thrive!

Want to know more about how Shelterwood strengthens teen-parent relationships? Start the conversation with one of our admissions counselors today.