Healthy family dynamics is always desirable. But a healthy, loving bond with their mothers can have some predictable benefits later in life. New research says that a loving and secure mother-teen bond can help the latter avoid getting into abusive relationships later in life.
The study notes that marital conflict exposure is a risk factor for teen dating violence. It further suggests that a teen’s relationship with their mother served as a buffer. It promoted a child’s feeling of self-worth, thus making them see themselves as worthy.
“Children form internal working models about themselves and others based on the quality of their relationship with their parents,” said Jennifer Livingston, Ph.D., lead investigator and associate professor in the UB School of Nursing. “If the primary caretaker is abusive or inconsistent, children learn to view themselves as unlovable and others as hostile and untrustworthy. But positive parenting behaviors characterized by acceptance and warmth help children form positive internal working models of themselves as lovable and worthy of respect.”
The findings of this study could help in the development of interventions to help teens and prevent experiences of physical, emotional or sexual relationship abuse.
The study was published in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence. The subjects are part of an ongoing study on the development of children of alcoholic parents.