Sunday 17 December 2017

Mother's love keeps sons on the straight and narrow, study finds

Murray Wardrop

A mother's love keeps boys on the straight and narrow, a study suggests.

Researchers found that sons are less likely to get into trouble later in life if they enjoy a warm relationship with their mother during childhood.

Those who cannot turn to their parents in times of need face a greater chance of developing behavioural problems later in life.

Experts, who analysed data provided by around 6,000 youngsters aged 12 and under, found that boys who never forge close relationships with their mothers are more likely to be aggressive and suffer mental health problems.

By contrast, boys grow up to be calmer, more self confident, and more empathetic if they have been able to seek comfort from their mothers as children.

Relationships between mothers and sons break down from a young age if children are repeatedly dismissed when trying to turn to their parents for help, the study found.

Pasco Fearon, associate professor of psychology at the University of Reading, who led the study, said: "Secure children have had repeated experiences of a caregiver who is responsive when support and proximity are needed and expect the caregiver(s) to be available and comforting when called upon.

"In contrast, children with insecure attachment relationships may have had experiences in which bids for proximity have been discouraged, rejected or inconsistently responded to.

“They rely more heavily on secondary coping processes to deal with stress and challenge.

"More specifically, children who seem unable to maintain a coherent strategy for coping with separation are at greatest risk for later behaviour problems and aggression."

The study, published in the journal Child Development, reviewed 69 different studies comparing child/parent relationships and the effects on youngsters’ behaviour.

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