Kids With Happy Supportive Families Probably Grow Up to Have Happier Marriages


Today in “Yes, I Guess That Makes Sense,” new research shows that kids with happy and supportive families generally grow up to have more successful marriages than kids who don’t. “The overall family climate seems to matter,” says Robert Ackerman, a psychologist at the University of Texas at Dallas who authored the study. “A positive family climate is related to individuals being more positively engaged with their spouses.”

The most important time for a child to be in a happy family environment — Ackerman’s research suggests — is during the teen years. A teen’s chance to learn to talk positively through conflicts with their parents and siblings tended to carry over into their later life marriages. Additionally, those who grew up with happy home lives were more often satisfied with their marriages in generally and not just in conflict situations.

For their research, Ackerman’s team checked in with a group of adults from various backgrounds who had also been studied as adolescents between the years of 1989 and 1991. During the late eighties and early nineties, the teens had been observed with their families as they discussed common sources of conflict, with researchers paying particular attention to the families’ abilities to stay warm with one another even when discussing points on contention.

Returning to the subjects approximately 20 years later, Ackerman conducted a similar test, this time with the subject and their spouse. What he found was that the children who had warmer, more supportive families grew up to treat and be treated by their spouses with a similar respect.

Yep, learned behavior is learned.

Happy Home in Adolescence Tied to Good Marriages Later [Live Science]
Image via bikeriderlondon/Shutterstock.

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