The relationship between a mother and her child is a complicated, challenging, rewarding, and enduring one. When children are young, they are wholly dependent on their mothers for virtually every need. As they mature, they develop their own personalities and rely on their parents for guidance, security, support, and love. But when children enter adulthood and venture off on their own, a natural shift in the mother-child relationship occurs. Mothers who based their level of maternal satisfaction on caring and providing for their child’s every need may now view their child’s independence, academic success, and happiness as indicators of satisfaction. Because more and more children are entering college every year, it is important to understand how this prolonged parenting relationship effects maternal satisfaction.
Esther S. Chang of the Department of Social Behavioral Sciences at Soka University of America in California recently led a study looking at how maternal satisfaction varied among 72 Chinese American mothers and 68 European American mothers. She considered factors such as academic success, maternal warmth, and maternal perception of relationship to measure maternal satisfaction. Chang found that the European American mothers reported higher levels of positive relationships and maternal satisfaction than the Chinese American mothers. The Chinese American mothers reported less satisfaction with their child’s college performance, less relationship warmth, and more conflict.
The parent-child relationship is a constant throughout life. It grows and evolves as each member of the coupling grows and evolves. Because it is integral to emotional development and overall well-being for both parties, it is important that all aspects of this relationship be explored at every significant point in time. Chang said, “These results led us to conclude that mutual warmth with young adult children is a key feature of midlife parenting satisfaction for mothers of both ethnic groups.” Chang hopes that this study provides insight into a critical time in the lives of mothers and children and demonstrates what factors are most important to ensuring a strong mother-child bond.
Chang, Esther S., and Ellen Greenberger. Parenting satisfaction at midlife among European- and Chinese-American mothers with a college-enrolled child. Asian American Journal of Psychology 3.4 (2012): 263-74. Print.
© Copyright 2013 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved.
The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.