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Do the father-daughter fights in ‘Dangal’ remind you of your own fights with your parents? Well, you are not alone. In fact, you’re like many teens for whom getting along with their parents can be a challenge – at least some of the time.
You probably think that any problems you have with your parents will be history once you move out and get into a relationship. They did not provide you with sex education, but you somehow managed to know stuff! So you will be good you feel. However, science has something else to say.
Whether things are good or bad with your parents could affect your love life down the road. At least that’s what one study of almost 3,000 teens found.
Down the road
In the study, high school students answered questions about their relationship with their parents. Then, years later, when they were young adults in romantic relationships, they were asked whether they were satisfied with their boyfriend or girlfriend.
Your relationship with your parents – whether it’s all rough seas or mostly smooth sailing – can affect whether you’re successful in love up to 15 years down the road, the study found.
One of the ways this might happen is through self-esteem, say the researchers. Good self-esteem goes a long way in romantic relationships. For example, it can help you deal with problems positively, say by trying to deal with the issue, instead of acting out negatively towards your partner.
Self-esteem is something that develops as you go from being a teen to a young adult, and building it up during this time has a lot to do with your relationship with your parents. When you go through something difficult – maybe you get into a fight with your best friend or are teased at school – and your parents are there for you, it can really help strengthen your self-esteem.
But the good news is that even if you have a very rocky relationship with your mom and dad, the effect on your future love life isn’t necessarily going to be huge. It doesn’t mean you’re doomed to be unhappy in romance.
Love thy parent
And the flip side is that a healthy relationship with them could have a positive impact when it comes to how things go with your partner.
So what’s the take-home message of this research? Know that your relationship with your parents can transfer into your love life. As a teen, recognise that both you and your parents have a role to play in a healthy relationship.
And if you’re having problems with your partner, it might help to take a close look at the way you act and behave around your parents and whether these patterns are repeating themselves in your relationship.
Reference: Paths to Intimate Relationship quality From Parent-Adolescent Relations and Mental Health. Journal of Marriage and Family. Published 2014.
To protect the identity, the person in the picture is a model and names have been changed.
Do you always fight with your parents? Did you get sex education as a child in school? Share with Love Matters (LM) on our Facebook page. If you have a specific question, please ask LM experts on our discussion forum.