Academic journal article Review of European Studies

Parent-Child Relationship: Peculiarities and Outcome

Academic journal article Review of European Studies

Parent-Child Relationship: Peculiarities and Outcome

Article excerpt


The relationship between parents and their children can be regarded as the most important relationship an individual can experience. This paper, examines theoretical and empirical literature on parent-child relationships by analyzing recent accomplishments on this issue. It turns first to the question of which behaviors in children are associated with those of their parents? This paper also reviews researches on: factors that influence parent-child relationship from an integrative contextual-empirical perspective. It is indeed true that parents are usually the ones who spend the most time with young children over extended periods of time; therefore this paper seek answers to the question of whether parents really have influence(s)on their children, to what extent and the importance of these influences. The results of this paper showed that temperament, antisocial and externalizing behaviors (e.g. substance abuse) were the most reported behavioral characteristics between parents and their children.

Keywords: parent-child relationship, attachment theory, parent-adult child relationship, parent and child behavior

1. Introduction

Parent-child relationships constitute a very special type of relationship in which every human is personally involved. According to Troll & Fingerman (1996), parent-child relationship is specific in nature and differs from all other kinds of relationships (such as partners, family and friends) because of its degree of intimacy. Researchers who have studied parent-child relationships focused on different aspects. Some characterized their study based on how parent-child relationship influences children's decision making and communication (Field et al., 2007); Effects of parent-child relationship in the development of children's emotional functioning and regulation (Boutelle et al., 2009); With the advent of extensive research in genetics, some researchers further explored the genetic nature of parents and how it influences the characteristics that children exhibit (Maccoby, 2000); While a large number of studies focus on issues like parental attachment (Antonucci et al., 2004; Bohlin et al., 2000). Parents are not the only source of influence on children; as children grow, they are more subject to the influence of peers, mass media, and other external factors outside the family. In this paper we focus on parental influence on children. It is important to note that the relationship that exists between parents and their children portray the type of families they come from.

2. Theoretical Framework

2.1 The Domain Perspective: Attachment Theory

The study of parent-child relationship had been based on attachment theory and had given remarkable results. Attachment theory as it relates to children emphasizes the importance of caring relationships for normal development of the child; it also suggests that a good nurturing relationship between parent and child shapes future social, cognitive, and emotional development of that child (Antonucci et al., 2004). John Bowlby in 1973 formulated attachment theory by drawing concepts from biology and psychoanalysis. According to this theory, children develop internal representations of relationships as a result of interactions with their primary caregivers (e.g. parents), which they subsequently use in maintaining other relationships. Attachment theory also presumes that parent-child relationship has long term consequences for shaping a child's psychological functioning.

During infancy, parent-child relationship is characterized by high levels of bonding of children with their parents (especially mothers), due to strong emotional and physical ties between a child and his or her parents. The loss of the attachment figure is accompanied by anxiety and grief, which can lead to problems in the child's social and emotional development (Varga, 2011). Strong attachment ties between children and their parents are a necessary condition for good mental health of the future adult (Bowlby, 1973). …

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