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Family tension affects relationships with children

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.

Photo by Ross Tucknott via Flickr

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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  1. Andrew says:

    “Arguments between mothers and fathers affect interactions with their children, Texan researchers report.”

    Who’d have thought it?

    I suppose the Department of the Bleeding Obvious has branches everywhere – including Texas.

    • Stitchedup says:

      Mothers and fathers have argued since time immemorial and will probably continue to do so for eternity. The state best keep their noses out of normal family conflict and accept it for what it is; you’ll never stop it so don’t try to unless the threshold of genuine physical violence is crossed.

      The family courts shouldn’t be in the business of attaching blame to one party or the other for normal family conflict, best just accept the relationship has broken down. If the threshold of genuine physical violence is crossed this can be dealt with by the Police and criminal courts.

      People are responsible for managing their own emotions and if they feel they’re not having their emotional needs met it is for them to call time on a relationship and move on.

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