Arguments between mothers and fathers affect interactions with their children, Texan researchers report.
A team led by psychologist Chrystyna D Kouros of the Southern Methodist University in Dallas collected data from 203 families. Parents in each completed dairy entries over a 15 day period, with each couple rating the quality of their marriage or relationship, as well as their relationship with their children.
Both mothers and fathers reported that when they had rowed with their partners, they were more likely to row with their children later the same day.
The relationship between parents is central to the family, Chrystyna D Kouros explained, and this has a direct effect on the parent-child relationship.
However, the researchers detected differences between men and women. Mothers were reportedly more successful at setting aside the tension when dealing with their children the following day, while fathers more often continued to allow marital problems to affect their relationship with their children.
Chrystyna Kouros said:
“…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.”
But, she continued:
“In families where the mom was showing signs of depression, dads on the other hand let the marital tension spill over, with the result being poorer interactions with their child, even on the next day.”
The study was published in the Journal of Family Psychology.
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