The attachment an infant develops with his caregivers is the blueprint for how he will approach relationships for the rest of his life. Children who are securely attached to their parents are most likely to become adults who can regulate their emotions, make friends and have healthy intimate relationships. Different parenting styles often result in different types of attachment and therefore, different experiences for the child with intimate relationships.
Researchers at BYU confirm that authoritative parenting styles are the most likely to produce psychologically healthy, well-adjusted children. These children usually grow into adults who are capable of enjoying intimate relationships with others. Authoritative parents mix setting boundaries and enforcing rules with a willingness to listen to their children's thoughts and feelings. Authoritative parents are likely to foster secure attachment and a sense of warmth in their relationships with their children.
Authoritarian parents, like authoritative parents, set boundaries and enforce rules. Unlike authoritarian parents, however, authoritative parents are strict and unwilling to negotiate with their children. Children of authoritarian parents are more likely to experience an anxious attachment to them. Any warmth and love shared between the two is shadowed by the child's fear of reprisal for unacceptable behavior. This type of parenting style is more likely to cause the adult children to feel anxious about their intimate relationships, and it may be more difficult for them to form these types of relationships.
Doctors at the University of Nebraska reviewed studies of approximately 900 adolescents, their upbringing, and their dating behavior. Poor parenting was associated with perpetuation of violence and victimization among the teens. Poor parenting was defined as low parental warmth and the use of corporal punishment. Therefore, physical abuse and low parental warmth does affect children's intimate relationships. Children raised with little warmth and with physical punishment are more likely to either beat their partner or accept beatings from the partner.
Permissive parents have few to no rules regarding their children's behavior, although they may express warmth and love. These kids may have high self-esteem but they lack the maturity that comes with responsibility. They also lack the ability to regulate their emotions as well as more mature adults. This affects their intimate relationships because they are less likely to accept responsibility for their behavior.
- University of Nebraska Department of Sociology: The Effect of Poor Parenting on Male and Female Dating Violence Perpetration and Victimization
- University of Illinois: A Brief Overview of Adult Attachment Theory and Research
- Intuition BYU: The Influence of Perceived Parenting Styles on the Degree of Adult Children's Allocation of Punishment
- University of Illinois & UC Davis: Self-Report Measures of Adult Attachment
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