If you have a good relationship with your parents, does that mean that you will have a good relationship with your spouse? Likewise, if you get along great with your spouse, does it ensure that you will get along with the rest of your extended family? And perhaps most importantly for parents or potential parents, does the relationship you have with your romantic partner predict what type of relationship you will have with your children? That was the question at the center of a recent article. “We wanted to see how romantic relationships between parents might be associated with what kind of parents they are,” said Abigail Millings, lead researcher of a recent study from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. Millings looked at 125 couples raising children between the ages of 7 and 8 and assessed how responsive they were to their partners and how this predicted parenting behaviors.
She found that in general, being emotionally in tune with and aware of those around you can help strengthen relationships. Parents who noticed their partners’ moods and emotional responses were more inclined to identify emotional needs in their children. For children, the benefits of positive parenting were especially evident psychologically, academically, and socially. The impact was particularly profound when fathers demonstrated high levels of emotional and physical involvement with their children. This effect also occurred indirectly through the relationship the father had with the mother.
Overall, the evidence shows that high levels of engagement and responsiveness between parents can lead to higher levels of emotional responsiveness and engagement between parents and their children. It’s highly unlikely that a couple will have children before they have a relationship. And that’s a good thing. Because according to these findings, learning adaptive and supportive relationship skills is a gift that can strengthen not only your relationship with your spouse, but relationships for generations to come.
Collins, Lois M. “Good Romantic Partners Are Likely to Be Good Parents, Study Says.” (n.d.): n. pag. Deseret News. 6 Jan. 2013. Web. 2013. http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865569989/Good-romantic-partners-are-likely-to-be-good-parents-study-says.html
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