Adolescents who demonstrated kindness, empathy, and generosity had positive relationships with their parents as toddlers, research found.
The study analysed more than 10,000 children, covering early childhood to late adolescence. Researchers found that children who experience loving relationships with their parents at age three were likely to have fewer mental health problems and more ‘prosocial’ tendencies in adolescence. ‘Prosociality’ is defined as voluntary behaviour with
the aim to benefit another person.
Comparatively, children who found their parental relationships to be strained or abusive were less likely to develop prosocial habits. Researchers believe the evidence calls for developing targeted policies and support for young families where establishing close relationships may not be easy, such as parents under stress from financial and work pressures.
Lead author Ioannis Katsantonis said: ‘How much [parents] can spend time with their children and respond to their needs and emotions early in life matters enormously. Closeness only develops with time, and for parents who are living or working in stressful and constrained circumstances, there often isn’t enough.’
Image | Unsplash