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Relationships: The Path to Longer, Happier Living – Family Relationships

This post was written by Jim Smith, a long time friend of Project Patch who worked as a therapist at our Youth Ranch and helped launch our Family Experience.  He no longer works at Project Patch but continues to serve families, teens and equip the church for ministry.

As we raise differencesour children we all watch the transitions through the different stages of development. Sometimes a stage is completed in a smooth way but more often each stage is completed with it’s own set of frustrations with the most difficult stage being adolescence.

William S. Aquilino in his article “Two Views of One Relationship: Comparing Parents’ and Young Adult Children’s Reports of the Quality of Intergenerational Relationships,” states that “youth tend to emphasize conflict with parents and exaggerate differences in order to achieve a clearer sense of emancipation and to facilitate separation from the family of origin.” In a nutshell it seems that adolescents emphasize the differences during this final stage before launching while parents tend to emphasize the good things happening at the same time. This is not a bad thing.

As reported in a study, “Romantic relationships in early adulthood: Influences of family, personality, and relationship cognitions,” written by April S. Masarik and Rand D. Conger of UCDavis, it seems that kids, “when parenting behaviors are high in warmth and supportiveness, high in levels of child monitoring and positive child management and low in levels of harsh and inconsistent discipline in adolescence, early adult children are more likely to endorse the belief that marriage requires emotional investment,” researchers said. “In turn, these emotional investments were associated with more positive romantic relationship interactions with a partner.”

In other words if the parenting environment is high in relationship and good parenting skills, the outcome for young adults’ is stable and satisfying relationships in their early adult marriages as well as romantic relationships. That translates into longer and happier living.

Is it worth it to work at developing a warm and supportive atmosphere with positive child management skills? You bet! It takes work and sacrifice but the results and dividends are great. Watching our own kids develop a warm and supportive atmosphere in there homes without abdicating their role as parent is deeply satisfying. Some good resources to help accomplish this are:

Love and Logic by Foster Cline and Jim Fay (All kinds of resources from these folks.)

Raising An Emotionally Intelligent Child by John Gottman

Raising our family is one of the most important things we do. Doing it right produces a great since of accomplishment and satisfaction and the cool thing is…we pass it on.