Parent-Child Relationship and Its Effect on Future Romantic Relationships

Parent-Child Relationship and Its Effect on Future Romantic Relationships

Parent-Child Relationship and Its Effect on Future Romantic Relationships

Abstract

Parent-child relationships influence how a child grows up and develops intimate relationships later in life. Existing research indicates that parent-child relationship significantly influences the development of romantic relationships. Negative parent-child relationship leads to low self-esteem and a negative attitude towards self and others. The main parenting styles that influence parent-child relationship are authoritative, authoritarian, and permissive. Results from existing studies indicate that positive parenting styles do not necessarily have a positive impact on the development of a romantic relationship. The aim of this study is to examine how the parent-child relationship affects the development of romantic relationships in future. It will include a total of 500 (250 males and 250 females) participants of white, Hispanics, and African American. The study will use closed-ended questionnaires will be used to gather information. The correlational research design will be used to carry out the study followed by an analysis of the variables using SPSS.

Parent-Child Relationship and Its Effect on Future Romantic Relationships

            Parent-child relationship influences the emotional development of children and the romantic relationships they develop when they grow up. Children are meant to connect emotionally and biologically with their parents. The biological connection is natural but the emotional one depends on the interaction between parents and their children. Any disruptions in the emotional connection may make it hard for the children to regulate their emotions. In fact, the interpersonal relationships between parents and children and the natural proximity-seeking behaviour among infants relieve anxiety and distress. The emotion regulation process continues into adulthood and influences the self-esteem of a person and the relations they develop with others. Therefore, there arise questions on how relationships between parents and their children affect the development of romantic relationships when the latter grow up.

Literature Review

            According to Del Toro (2012), the development of intimate relationships depends on the connection they had with their parents when growing up. Moreover, romantic intimacy qualities and traits are developed in early childhood. The type, quality, and level of attachment parents have with their children dictate the nature of the relations they develop with others when they grow up. In fact, Del Toro (2012) found that children who have healthy relationships with their parents are more likely to develop successful romantic relationships in future. Therefore, the parent-child relationship positively affects romantic relationships the children develop in future.

            Mahasneh, Al-Zoubi, Batayenh, and Jawarneh (2013) claim that the authoritative, authoritarian, and permissive parenting styles have varying effects on the development of intimate relationships. The authoritative parenting style is sensitive to children since parents are involved in their children’s activities and respond to their needs (Mahasneh, Al-Zoubi, Batayenh, & Jawarneh, 2013). Such parents also engage with their children and try to consider their opinions on issues. They also consider the opinions and suggestions of their children and negotiate how things should be done. Therefore, authoritative parenting style allows significant emotional attachment between parents and their children.

            The authoritarian parenting style is characterized by a high level of control and low acceptance by parents. Parents use physical punishment for any wrongdoing and rarely listen to their children and expect them to follow (Mahasneh, Al-Zoubi, Batayenh, & Jawarneh, 2013). Authoritarian parents are rigid and emotionally distant from their children. On the other hand, the permissive parenting style is characterized by few demands from the parents. They use limited punishment and exhibit non-controlling behavior. As such, the permissive style gives children more freedom to do as they please.

            Mahasneh, Al-Zoubi, Batayenh, and Jawarneh (2013) indicate that the secure, dismissing, preoccupied, and fearful attachment styles result from the three parenting styles. The secure attachment style is characterized by a positive feeling and attitude about the self and others. The dismissing attachment style involves one having a positive feeling about themselves but not about others. The preoccupied attachment style is characterized by anxiety about self and others. Individuals with this attachment style worry about whether other people value them and whether they value others enough (Mahasneh, Al-Zoubi, Batayenh, & Jawarneh, 2013). Lastly, the fearful attachment style is characterized by negative feelings about the self and others. Mahasneh, Al-Zoubi, Batayenh, and Jawarneh (2013) found that authoritative parenting style is positively related to avoidant or fearful and anxious-ambivalent or preoccupied attachment styles while the authoritarian parenting style is positively related with the secure and avoidant attachment styles. On the other hand, the secure attachment style is negatively related to the redundant protection parenting style. Therefore, the parenting style influences how children develop romantic relationships in future, considering the attachment level of an individual influences the success of these relationships. However, positive parenting styles do not necessarily result in positive attachment styles.

            Rader (2003) bases his study on attachment and social support theories. The attachment theory emphasizes the importance of the parent-child relationship on the development of an individual. According to this theory, the early bond between a child and their parents is significant in developing and sustaining security in the former (Rader, 2003). For example, if the parent provides the needs of a child, the child becomes more trusting of others in society. On the other hand, the social support theory focuses on the roles that parents play in the lives of their children. It looks at the support that parents give to their children as they grow up. Some of the support factors that the theory focuses on include social interaction, security, alliance, guidance, and the assurance of one’s worth. Rader (2003) found that parent-child relationships influence the development of romantic relationships in future. Rader (2003) also established that the quality of the parent-child relationship and interaction are significant predictors for the romantic involvement of the children in their adulthood. Therefore, the parent-child relationship influences the development of romantic relationships in future.                                                                                                                   

            Overbeek et al (2007) found that negative parent-child bonds resulted in low-quality partner relationships and general dissatisfaction with life. The implication of these findings is early experiences influence one’s development. Detrimental parent-child relationship limits one’s capacity to establish and maintain romantic relationships. Based on early experiences, children develop cognitive-affective representations of closeness and effective quality that influence their intimate bonds. The representations include the view of self and others and expectations of interactions. For example, negative parent-child relationships lead to low self-esteem and a negative attitude towards others. Other effects include depression and emotional maladjustment (Overbeek et al, 2007). Detrimental parent-child relationships are characterized by hostility, lack of parental support, insensitive parenting, and lack of parental control. Individuals who experience such relationships have lower expectations in their adulthood. They perceive other people from their parents’ perspective, believing that they cannot have successful relationships. On the other hand, hostility increases the anxiety level, lowering the ability to develop successful romantic relationships (Overbeek et al, 2007). The inability of individuals who experienced negative parent-child relationships to establish successful ones can also be attributed to poor communication. The poor relationship with their parents implies that such people did not learn how to communicate with others and resolve conflicts. The hypothesis of this study is parent-child relationships influence the development of romantic relationships among children in future.                                                                              

Methodology

Participants

            A total of 500 participants will be sampled for the study, including 250 males and 250 females, all aged between 18 and 30 years. The participants will be selected from white, Hispanic, and African American races. The aim is to determine whether ethnicity influences how children are affected by the relationship that they share with their parents and how it affects the development of romantic relationships in their adulthood.

Procedure

            The data in this study will be collected using questionnaires. After giving their consent, the participants will be required to fill the questionnaire, beginning with demographic information such as age, educational background, and ethnicity. The questions will focus on three elements of attachment level and romantic relationship development. The study will use the closed-ended questionnaire, which is normally used when the researcher wants to obtain particular information from respondents. The main advantage is it is easy to categorize and analyze data (McGuirk & O’Neill, 2016). For example, it is easy to obtain information from web-based closed-ended questionnaires since the data automatically assembles when respondents provide answers. The collected data will be analyzed using SPSS to determine the relationship between the variables.

Measures

            The three main measures used are the Parental Authority Questionnaire (PAQ), Experiences in Close Relationships scale (ECR), and the Inventory of Parent and Peer Attachment (IPPA).

Parenting Authority Questionnaire

            PAQ measures the authoritarian, authoritative, and permissive parenting styles using ten questions for each prototype. Items on the scale are rated from 1 to5, with 1 being “strongly agree” and 5 “strongly disagree.” PAQ has also subscales that make it possible to determine the parenting style of each parent (Del Toro, 2012). The PAQ scale will be used to determine the parenting style that participants experienced as children.

Experiences in Close Relationships scale (ECR)

            The ECR comprises 36 items that measure the attachment level between two individuals involved in a romantic relationship. Like the PAQ, items on the ECR are rated a five-point scale, with 1 being strongly agree and 5 being strongly disagree (Del Toro, 2012). The ECR will be used to measure the level of relationship anxiety. The aim is to determine how hard it is for participants to establish relationships with others.

Inventory of Parent and Peer Attachment (IPPA)

            The IPPA has 28 items rated on a five-point scale. The items are used to examine the level of attachment. A sample question for the IPPA is “I am ashamed to talk about my problems with my parents” (Del Toro, 2012). The IPPA will be used to measure the attachment level among participants.

Research design

            The study will use a correlational research design, which focuses on establishing relationships between two or more variables (Ingham-Broomfield, 2014). In this study, the relationship among various variables will be analyzed, for example, how parental styles and attachment levels are related. There will also be an analysis of the relationship between the attachment level and the romantic relationship anxiety level among respondents. The aim is to examine how parenting style and attachment level influence each other and how the two variables influence the development of romantic relationships of children in their adulthood. 

                                                                                                                                                     References

Del Toro, M. (2012). The influence of parent-child attachment on romantic relationships. McNair Scholars Research Journal, 8(1), 5.

Ingham-Broomfield, R. (2014). A nurses’ guide to quantitative research. Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing, The, 32(2), 32.

Mahasneh, A. M., Al-Zoubi, Z. H., Batayenh, O. T., & Jawarneh, M. S. (2013). The relationship between parenting styles and adult attachment styles from Jordan university students. International Journal of Asian Social Science, 3(6), 1431-1441.

McGuirk, P. M., & O’Neill, P. (2016). Using questionnaires in qualitative human geography. In I. Hay (Eds.), Qualitative Research Methods in Human Geography (pp. 246-273). Don Mills, Canada: Oxford University Press.

Rader, H. N. (2003). Influences of Current Parent-child Relationships on Young Adults’ Romantic Development (Doctoral dissertation, University of North Texas).

Overbeek, G., Stattin, H., Vermulst, A., Ha, T., & Engels, R. C. (2007). Parent-child relationships, partner relationships, and emotional adjustment: A birth-to-maturity prospective study. Developmental psychology, 43(2), 429.

APPENDICES

Questionnaire

In this study, we are interested in understanding how parent-child relationships influence the development of romantic relationships of children as adults. Be assured that complete confidentiality will be exercised and your identities will not be revealed. Your participation in this study is voluntary and you can withdraw at any time for any reason whatsoever.

I consent, begin the study

I do not consent; I do not wish to participate

SECTION A

  1. Gender of the respondent

                            Male                      Female       

  1. Age of the respondent

18 – 20                     21 – 25                    26 – 3 0     

  1. The educational level of respondent

High school leaver                   College graduate           Degree holder

  1. Ethnicity

White         Hispanics             African American

Description:  The PAQ is designed to measure parental authority, or disciplinary

practices, from the point of view of the child (of any age). 

The PAQ has three subscales:

permissive (P: items 1, 6, 10, 13, 14, 17, 19, 21, 24 and 28), authoritarian (A: items 2, 3,

7, 9, 12, 16, 18, 25, 26 and 29), and authoritative/flexible (F: items 4, 5, 8, 11, 15, 20, 22,

23, 27, and 30).  Mother and father forms of the assessment are identical except for

references to gender.

Scoring:  The PAQ is scored easily by summing the individual items to comprise the

subscale scores.  Scores on each subscale range from 10 to 50.

Author:  Dr. John R. Buri, Department of Psychology, University of St. Thomas, 2115

Summit Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55105.

Source:  Buri, J.R. (1991). Parental Authority Questionnaire, Journal of Personality and

Social Assessment, 57, 110-119

Inventory of Parent and Peer Attachment (IPPA)

This questionnaire asks about your relationships with your mother. Each of the following statements asks about your feelings about your mother or the woman who has acted as your mother (e.g., a natural mother and a step-mother). Answer the questions for the one you feel has most influenced you.

                Almost Never                      Not Very                      Sometimes                Often             Almost Always

                        Or                                   Often True                       True                       True                       or

                Never True                                                                                                                              Always True

                        1                                         2                                          3                              4                              5             

1.      My mother respects my feelings.                                         1       2       3       4       5

2.      I feel my mother does a good job as my mother.                   1       2       3       4       5

3.      I wish I had a different mother.                                            1       2       3       4       5

4.      My mother accepts me as I am.                                           1       2       3       4       5

5.      I like to get my mother’s point of view on

         things I’m concerned about.                                                1       2       3       4       5

6.      I feel it’s no use letting my feelings show around

         my mother.                                                                        1       2       3       4       5

7.      My mother can tell when I’m upset about something.           1       2       3       4       5

8.      Talking over my problems with my mother                         

         makes me feel ashamed or foolish.                                      1       2       3       4       5

9.      My mother expects too much from me.                                1       2       3       4       5

10.    I get upset easily around my mother.                                    1       2       3       4       5

11.    I get upset a lot more than my mother knows about.              1       2       3       4       5

12.    When we discuss things, my mother cares

         about my point of view.                                                      1       2       3       4       5

13.    My mother trusts my judgment.                                           1       2       3       4       5

14.    My mother has her own problems,

         so I don’t bother her with mine.                                           1       2       3       4       5

15.    My mother helps me understand myself better.                     1       2       3       4       5

16.    I tell my mother about my problems and troubles.                 1       2       3       4       5

17.    I feel angry with my mother.                                               1       2       3       4       5

18.    I don’t get much attention from my mother.                         1       2       3       4       5

19.    My mother helps me talk about my difficulties.                    1       2       3       4       5

20.    My mother understands me.                                                1       2       3       4       5

21.    When I am angry about something,

         my mother tries to be understanding.                                   1       2       3       4       5

22.    I trust my mother.                                                               1       2       3       4       5

23.    My mother doesn’t understand what I’m going through

         these days.                                                                         1       2       3       4       5

24.    I can count on my mother when I need to get something

          off my chest.                                                                     1       2       3       4       5

25.    If my mother knows something is bothering me,

         she asks me about it.                                                           1       2       3       4       5

The next set of questions asks you about your relationship with your male Parent (i.e.  father or whomever takes care of you).

1.      My father respects my feelings.                                           1       2       3       4       5

2.      I feel my father does a good job as my father.                       1       2       3       4       5

3.      I wish I had a different father.                                             1       2       3       4       5

4.      My father accepts me as I am.                                             1       2       3       4       5

5.      I like to get my father’s point of view on

         things I’m concerned about.                                                1       2       3       4       5

6.      I feel it’s no use letting my feelings show around

         my father.                                                                          1       2       3       4       5

7.      My father can tell when I’m upset about something.             1       2       3       4       5

8.      Talking over my problems with my father                           

         makes me feel ashamed or foolish.                                      1       2       3       4       5

9.      My father expects too much from me.                                  1       2       3       4       5

10.    I get upset easily around my father.                                      1       2       3       4       5

11.    I get upset a lot more than my father knows about.                1       2       3       4       5

12.    When we discuss things, my father cares

         about my point of view.                                                      1       2       3       4       5

13.    My father trusts my judgment.                                             1       2       3       4       5

14.    My father has her own problems,

         so I don’t bother her with mine.                                           1       2       3       4       5

15.    My father helps me understand myself better.                       1       2       3       4       5

16.    I tell my father about my problems and troubles.                  1       2       3       4       5

17.    I feel angry with my father.                                                 1       2       3       4       5

18.    I don’t get much attention from my father.                           1       2       3       4       5

19.    My father helps me talk about my difficulties.                      1       2       3       4       5

20.    My father understands me.                                                  1       2       3       4       5

21.    When I am angry about something,

         my father tries to be understanding.                                     1       2       3       4       5

22.    I trust my father.                                                                 1       2       3       4       5

23.    My father doesn’t understand what I’m going through

         these days.                                                                         1       2       3       4       5

24.    I can count on my father when I need to get something

          off my chest.                                                                     1       2       3       4       5

25.    If my father knows something is bothering me,

         she asks me about it.                                                           1       2       3       4       5

The next set of questions asks you about your relationship with your close friends.  

  1. My friends can tell when I’m upset about something.         1       2       3       4       5
  2. When we discuss things, my friends

care about my point of view.                                      1       2       3       4       5

  1. When I discuss things, my friends care

about my point of view.                                             1       2       3       4       5

  1. I wish I had different friends.                                           1       2       3       4       5
  2. My friends understand me.                                               1       2       3       4       5
  3. My friends help me to talk about my difficulties.               1       2       3       4       5
  4. My friends accept me as I am.                                          1       2       3       4       5
  5. I feel the need to be in touch with my friends more often.   1       2       3       4       5
  6. My friends don’t understand what

I’m going through these days.                                    1       2       3       4       5

  1. I feel alone or apart when I’m with my friends.                  1       2       3       4       5
  2. My friends listen to what I have to say.                             1       2       3       4       5
  3. I feel my friends are good friends.                                     1       2       3       4       5
  4. My friends are fairly easy to talk to.                                  1       2       3       4       5
  5. When I am angry about something,

my friends try to be understanding.                             1       2       3       4       5

  1. My friends help me to understand myself better.                1       2       3       4       5
  2. My friends care about how I am.                                      1       2       3       4       5
  3. I feel angry with my friends.                                            1       2       3       4       5
  4. I can count on my friends

when I need to get something off my chest.                 1       2       3       4       5

  1. I trust my friends.                                                            1       2       3       4       5
  2. My friends respect my feelings.                                        1       2       3       4       5
  3. I get upset a lot more than my friends know about.            1       2       3       4       5
  4. It seems as if my friends

are irritated with me for no reason.                             1       2       3       4       5

  1. I can tell my friends about my problems and troubles.        1       2       3       4       5
  2. If my friends know something is bothering me,

they ask me about it.                                                  1       2       3       4       5

Response categories:

          1=  Almost never or never true

           2= Not very true

           3=Sometimes true

           4=Often true

           5=Almost always or always true


Background:

The IPPA was developed in order to assess adolescents’ perceptions of the positive and negative affective/cognitive dimension of relationships with parents and close friends — particularly how well these figures serve as sources of psychological security. The theoretical framework is attachment theory. Three broad dimensions are assessed: degree of mutual trust, quality of communication, and extent of anger and alienation. The instrument is a self report questionnaire with a five point likert scale response format. The IPPA consists of 25 items for the mother, 25 items for the father, and 25 items for the adolescent.. The IPPA is scored by reverse-scoring the negatively worded items and then summing the response values in each section.

2, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10

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