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Study Shows Teens Who Bond With Their Mothers Are Less Likely to Enter Abusive Relationships

The mother-child bond is very important. Without realizing it, it marks our personality, and the choices we make in adulthood are very much related to the type of relationship we had with our mother during childhood. A recent study found that if the bond is positive in the early stages of life, the child’s love decisions throughout adolescence will be healthy, without violence or abuse.

At Bright Side we are interested in this topic, and if you are a mother, you will surely find it interesting as well. That’s why we researched more about what this study says to share the most important information with you.

The importance of the mother-child relationship

Previous studies have found that a teenager’s exposure to their parents’ marital conflicts makes them more likely to have them with their future partners as well. If they grew up watching one parent being abused by the other, they may be predisposed to violent relationships.

New research has uncovered the opposite side. If, despite having a conflicting relationship with her husband, the mother was loving with her children, there are fewer chances that the children will repeat the same story. Positive parenting in childhood helps teens avoid abusive relationships.

How a mother’s love brings protection

This study was published in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence. A survey was conducted among 140 young people, whose parents were married or living together. Half of the participants had a parent with an alcohol problem.

The survey was conducted twice: once when the participants were children in the eighth grade, and once when they were teenagers and in their last 2 years of high school. The purpose of the surveys was to report the degree of exposure to the conflictive relationship between their parents, the perception that the participants had of their mother, and whether they were also victims of violence.

What was found was revealing. Children who were raised by positive, loving, and highly accepting mothers were less likely to be involved with abusive partners in adolescence, even if their parents’ marriages had been conflictual. In contrast, children whose mothers did not foster a loving bond with them were more exposed to the harmful effects of marital conflict. That is, they had abusive partners in their teens.

Why maternal love is so positive

According to the study, the quality of the relationship between parents helps children form an internal working model about themselves and others. If the father engages in violent behavior and fosters conflict with his partner, the children will learn to view others as unreliable or enemies, and themselves as hostile.

However, when the mother raises them in a positive environment of communication, acceptance, and warmth, the children see themselves as worthy of respect and kind. This happens despite the fact that the parents get along poorly.

A useful study for the future

Given that 30% of teens suffer some form of abuse from their romantic partners, the study serves as a basis for determining actions to avoid that situation.

The influence that the marital relationship has on children is so great, that one of the ways to help raise young people with a strong and optimistic perception of themselves is through multiple interventions that promote healthy communication between parents. First, it is important that adults learn to resolve their conflicts at home.

Getting parents to improve their ability to solve their problems without violence decreases family stress and increases communication skills. In turn, adults become more responsive to their children’s needs.

Do you agree with the results of the study? What other behaviors can motherly love influence during childhood or adolescence? Your opinion is always welcome!

Preview photo credit Stepmom / Columbia Pictures