Good romantic partners make good parents: study

13 December 2012 - 12:07 By AFP Relaxnews
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Perhaps not surprisingly, people who are difficult romantic partners are also likely to make less-than-ideal parents, a new study finds.

The same skills that make a person a good mate, such as sensitivity and willingness to cooperative, translate to parenting skills, according to new British research.

"If you can do responsive care-giving, it seems that you can do it across different relationships," study researcher Abigail Millings of the University of Bristol says in a statement.

The key, says Millings, is a person's ability to form healthy attachments with other people. Those with issues such as attachment avoidance tend to put up emotional barriers, or alternatively, someone with attachment anxiety may tend to be clingy and insecure. However, those who form secure attachments are free to be independent in their relationships while also resting assured that the other person is there for them and vice versa, writes LiveScience.

Milllings and her team enlisted 125 British couples with children ages seven to eight to fill out surveys about their romantic attachment to their partners, their romantic care-giving, and their parenting styles.

The researchers classified parenting styles into three groups: the most ideal was authoritative (warm, communicative but in control), and less ideal styles were authoritarian (in control, but lacking warmth) and permissive (warm, but lacking control).

Findings showed that parents who were avoidant or anxious in their romantic relationships were less likely to be ideal parents, adopting either a more authoritarian approach, or the opposite, a more permissive method of parenting.

The findings were published online last week in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

Previous research has shown that attachment avoidance and anxiety are associated with more fear about parenting, as well as having struggles being a parent, according to LiveScience.