Many do not fully understand the parent-child bond and how it can positively
reinforce relationships – especially in Black families where it's often portrayed in
the context of absenteeism and toxic childhoods. This study on Father–child
Attachment in Black families: Risk and Protective Processes highlights how good
fathering has a positive effect on the Black youth and how a father's bond with
their children can help support them into adulthood. To gain deeper knowledge on this, let’s take a deeper look at the parent-child bond and how you can strengthen your bond with your child.
Defining the Parent-Child Bond
One of the most fundamental and essential relationships a child can have is their
relationship with their parents. As discussed in the study A Cross-Cultural Study
of the Effect of Parental Bonding on the Perception and Response to Criticism in
Singapore, Italy, and USA, the parent-child relationship or bond is a unique
connection that nurtures a child’s physical, emotional, and social development. A
good and supportive relationship translates into positive emotional self-
awareness and emotional competence. On the other hand, the study also points
out how negative and unsupportive parent-child relationships are associated with
social maladjustment and emotion dysregulation.
Maryville University’s look at contemporary human development and family
studies shows how physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development of
people and families contributes to the parent-child dynamic across their lifespan.
A person’s life is shaped by how they grow, think, feel, and form relationships
throughout their life. This means that every relationship they form as a child
contributes to how they turn out as adults. Likewise, parents also gain emotional
knowledge and development from the bond they form with their children.
Strengthening the Parent-Child Bond
A good and strong bond between a parent and a child can indicate how a child
will grow up in the future. And while most studies are associated with positive
relationships with the mother, fathers are often left behind in the conversation. In
the case of Black fathers, this portrayal is almost always in a bad light. However,
this particular stereotype should be cast aside as Black fathers and father figures
step up to prove the positive effect the parent-child bond has on them.
Take Tevin Eversley, a dad we previously spoke to for our Dads in Delivery
Campaign. He shares how he felt an emotional and mental change the moment
he held his newborn baby in his arms. In this moment, a parent-child bond begins
with a father’s love and support for his child. For Tevin, this will forever be a life-
changing experience that will always be remembered as a day filled with joy and
This positive effect is also proven with The Dresden University of Technology’s study on father-infant bonding, which shares how a father’s involvement in childcare creates a better bond between father and child. Being closely involved in parenting is very important, even in the early stages. Doing simple things like changing their diapers or lulling them to sleep will help you become more involved.
Often, this active involvement is the common denominator in all kinds of parent-
child bonds. The more a mother or a father is present in their child’s life, the
stronger the bond is. Children who are nurtured with this kind of affection are
more likely to develop happy relationships in the future. The parent-child bond
allows them to be more confident and content.
The study also shows how fathers spending time with their children also nurtures
a close relationship. Black fathers must find instances where they can spend time
with their children to be closer to them. You can bond over a shared sport or
introduce them to new hobbies.
Truthfully, the debate around Black fathers is changing as they improve their
family dynamics and the quality of their relationships to be better role models for
their children. Instead of prioritizing other aspects, they are choosing to be there
for their children – and this strengthens their emotional tie with their offspring.
Article written by Reggie Jules