Healthy Intimate Relationships Begin with Positive Parenting

Toddler holding on to her mother's legChildren who have warm, loving, and supportive relationships with their siblings and parents are likely to have emotionally satisfying and positive intimate relationships in adulthood. According to a new study led by April S. Masarik of the School of Human and Community Development at the University of California, Davis, the success and satisfaction of intimate relationships begins long before children enter adulthood. Masarik followed 265 adolescents throughout their teen years and into young adulthood and assessed their relationships with their parents and other family members. She used this information as a gauge to determine how these relationships influenced their adult intimate relationships later in life. She found that parents who were warm, supporting, and engaged with their children had young adults with happier relationships than did the parents who were distant and harsh. Masarik believes that the positive parenting showed children the importance of making an emotional investment in a relationship. “In turn, these emotional investments were associated with more positive romantic relationship interactions with a partner,” said Masarik.

The participants in this study were mostly heterosexual, Caucasian individuals who grew up in two-parent homes. Because of the diverse nature of home environments and sexual preferences that exist today, Masarik believes that it would be important to conduct similar research on a more demographically diverse sample of participants. She hopes that her findings will impress upon people the importance of pre-marital counseling and marriage therapy. By understanding the nature of the parent-child relationship, clinicians can gain a clearer insight into the factors that may contribute to problems in current intimate relationships. She adds that programs designed to improve parent-child and adolescent relationships should be encouraged as these experiences lay the foundation for all future relationships the child may have. Successful modeling of positive relationships can increase the chances of adults having positive and satisfying romantic relationships, business relationships, and friendships.

Positive family relationships linked to healthy marriages. US Fed News Service, Including US State NewsFeb 09 2013. ProQuest Research Library. Web. 11 Feb. 2013 .

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The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Cindy

    February 25th, 2013 at 7:15 PM

    when I see some of he parents out there makes me feel like there should be something like a course to teach people how to be good parents. a formal course.because some a. Just so irresponsible as parents in more ways than one.

    parenting lays the foundation for the child’s life. you can’t get complacent about that.

  • Rashida

    February 26th, 2013 at 3:54 AM

    It is so impostant from a very early age for your children to always feel safe and secure and to know that with their family they will always have a soft place to fall.
    If this is not something that is established for them at home at an early age they will never know as an adult what kind of relationship to seek out or even what a healthy and loving family environment looks like.

  • Edward

    February 26th, 2013 at 10:17 PM

    It does make sense that children from healthy homes turn in to healthy, loving adults with rewarding relationships. When children don’t have warmth at home, they have a hole inside that they will always be trying to fill. And, since nothing can fill it but coming from a loving home and the clock can’t be unwound, they will search their whole lives. Unfortunately, they often search in places that are unhealthy and wind up with issues such as substance abuse. It is certainly worthwhile to invest in your child’s emotional future.

  • Gina

    February 26th, 2013 at 10:19 PM

    i like how the person says to go to premarital counseling cuz i hadn’t thought of that before it could really help prevent alot of problems.

    some people dont even know they have problems til its to late and there kids aren’t doing to good. like having trouble in school and stuff.

    People should really listen to this and go see somebody before they have kids and work on there issues everybody has issues!!!!!

  • Jess K

    February 26th, 2013 at 10:21 PM

    Cindy, I agree 100% with you. It’s too bad you have to have a license to check out a library book yet you can just have as many kids as you want no matter how bad a parent you are. Welfare sure doesn’t help the situation.

  • H Morris

    February 26th, 2013 at 10:29 PM

    While i do remember having little kids and it being hard and trying at time i can’t imagine ever being so impatient with them as i see folks being with their kids now a days. it just hurts my heart to see kids being ridiculed by their moms and dads. Don’t people know how tender kids are? All they want is to please their moms and dads.

  • Fatima

    February 26th, 2013 at 10:32 PM

    Being a parent is hard work for sure. Some days it’s all I can do to get everyone fed and clean. Being emotionally available is usually the furthest thing from my mind. I guess I need to find the energy to do it though.

  • Sean h

    February 26th, 2013 at 11:26 PM

    Having grown up in a home where mom and dad just ‘put up’ with each other because of me I never received the kind of warmth that most children take for granted… it was always about being the audience to a relationship gone wrong but held together as a favor to the little me. in short my growing up years were never sweet or something to remember.

    I do not want to blame my parents but that did affect my own relationships later in life. never had a steady relationship and I’m 32 right now.. I don’t even know if I’ll ever be able to break this shackle but I really want to and will do anything to get rid of it.

    What would be the best course of action? I am not too comfortable speaking about all this and going into details with a counselor.. is there any other avenue I could turn to? thanks.

  • Elizabeth Carr

    March 2nd, 2013 at 7:25 AM


    Its uncomfortable to imagine talking about this with a therapist. Therapy is by nature an intimate emotional relationship, but if you work with the right person it its also the best way to break the shackles of isolation. In this relationship you can learn to work through habits you may have learned to deal with life in childhood that now keep you distant from these other.

  • dale Hopkins

    February 27th, 2013 at 4:03 AM

    If ever there was a time to realize just how much of an impact a stable upbringing has on kids, this should be the wake up call for all of us. Our children and we too learn just how other people should treat us and how we should interact with other people from our home lives when we are growing up. If you are raised in a home with a lot of mutual respect and love then there is a good chance that this is what you will seek out as an adult because this is what you will know that you deserve. Kids who are raised and I use the term loosely in a home with no guidance and with abuse and neglect, just what do you think that they will look for? They will look to create that same environment because this is what they have been taught that they deserve. As parents and even grandparents we have to be the ones to break that chain of behavior and instill more self worth in our children so that one day they will be able to bestow the same upon their own families and the world.

  • Reid

    February 27th, 2013 at 1:29 PM

    Show a child an apple and call it banana and the child will say banana every time he sees an apple. likewise demonstrate a loving relationship and he will take the same to be true of any relationship. do the opposite and it has the same effect. not too hard to understand is it? its not too hard to demonstrate and inculcate the right relationship aspects either.

  • Harper

    February 28th, 2013 at 4:06 AM

    I would bet that if you look back on pretty much any bad relationship and the things that caused it to go south, one or a combination of things were things that stem from the parents. This is where you learn how to love someone else- if you didn’t exactly have the best role models then how are you supposed to know how to treat your own partner when things get hard?

  • leslie

    February 28th, 2013 at 11:51 PM

    Just shows how much we touch the lives of all those around us and in turn they touch our lives the same way. Every interaction and relationship in life has an effect and that effect remains for a lifetime. no getting away from it. Just another reason to make every relationship n interaction sweet, to try and enrich others lives around us while making things better for ourselves.

  • Elizabeth Carr

    March 2nd, 2013 at 8:05 AM

    One of the best ways you can help your children to make good future choices in their adult relationships I’d to support them in having high expectations of their current friends. Childhood friendships can be the practice ground for adult relationships. If the school teaches them about character (kindness, responsibility, trustworthiness, etc,) reinforce these ideas as selection and retention criteria for their friendships.

  • trav good

    March 2nd, 2013 at 1:41 PM

    But it is also possible to have this as an adult even if you were not lucky enough to have it growing up as a child!
    I find that sometimes we give ourselves far too little credit, we allow who we become to be dictated by what we THINK that we should become.
    But we are better than that and can rise above even the worst things that have been thrown at us throughout our lives.
    I like to think that I am far more in control over who I am than what I would like to cede to someone else. I have risen above the past, and you can too.

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