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Baby-Mother Bonds Affect Future Adult Relationships, Study Finds
A mother lode ofِ bonding – orِ a lack thereof – betweenِ moms andِ young children canِ predict kids’ behavior inِ romantic relationships decades later, a newِ study suggests.
Adding toِ evidence thatِ evenِ preverbal memories areِ firmly imprinted onِ young psyches, researchers foundِ that children whoِ hadِ beenِ more securely attached toِ theirِ mothers, nowِ grown, didِ betterِ atِ resolving relationship conflicts, recovering fromِ those conflicts andِ enjoying stable, satisfying ties withِ theirِ romantic partners inِ early adulthood.
Simpson, a professor ofِ psychology atِ the University ofِ Minnesota.
Measuring the mother-child bond
When theِ children wereِ 12 andِ 18 months old, theyِ were videotaped inِ a stressful lab procedure called Strange Situation, inِ which theِ children wereِ separated andِ reunited withِ theirِ mothers.
Those whoِ wereِ deemed toِ haveِ anِ insecure attachment withِ theirِ mothers – meaning theyِ remained distressed throughoutِ theِ experiment – reported moreِ negative emotions whenِ tryingِ toِ resolve major relationship conflicts withِ theirِ romantic partners twoِ decades later.
We alsoِ found thatِ ifِ you wereِ insecurely attached toِ your mother asِ a child, butِ had a reallyِ committed partner asِ anِ adult, thatِ partner basically protected youِ fromِ showing dysfunctional behavior inِ your relationship 20 years later, Simpson said.
Can patterns be changed?
Adults whoِ remember havingِ a poor relationship withِ theirِ mothers early inِ life – whetherِ orِ notِ that pattern continued, mayِ want toِ speak withِ a therapist toِ maximize theirِ chances ofِ happy, successful romantic relationships, Simpson suggested.
Often, identifying theِ sorts ofِ patterns youِ mayِ not beِ able toِ articulate, canِ (help) youِ find someoneِ who isِ not goingِ to reinforce theِ way youِ usedِ toِ beِ treated, orِ the wayِ you usedِ toِ view theِ world, Simpson said.
The study isِ published inِ the December issue ofِ the journal Current Directions inِ Psychological Science..