Arguments between parents may damage their relationships with their children, according to a recent study in the Journal of Family Psychology.
Parents in more than 200 families were asked to make daily diary entries for 15 days. At the end of each day, mothers and fathers rated the quality of their marriage and their relationship with their children. On days when parents reported conflict and tension in their marriage, their dealings with their children were also strained.
However, there were notable differences between mothers and fathers. Marital conflict affected mothers’ relationships with their children for just one day.
“In fact, in that situation, moms appeared to compensate for their marital tension. Poor marital quality actually predicted an improvement in the relationship between the mom and the child. So, the first day’s adverse spillover is short-lived for moms,” study author Chrystyna Kouros, an assistant professor in the psychology department at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, said.
It was a different story with fathers. “
The study shows that the quality of their marriage affects each parent’s ties with their children.
“We see from the findings that the marriage is a hub relationship for the family,” Kouros said. “The quality of that relationship spills over into each parent’s interactions with the child. So if mom and dad are fighting, it will show up initially — and in some cases on the second day — in a poorer quality relationship with their kids.”
Adapted from the article in MedlinePlus.
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