Boys Stay Close to Mom and be a Good Citizen

November 12, 2012

Boys Stay Close to Mom and be a Good Citizen

A report which has been published in the journal Child Development has found that the relationship between mother and son can have a bearing on the son’s behavior as he reaches adolescence. As the boy grows up his relationship with his mother changes but the earlier years appear to influence the way the boy will grow up.

The study was conducted on 265 low income mother and son pairs from the Pittsburgh area and lasted from when the boys were 5 years old into their teens. Aspects being researched included the amount of warmth between mothers and sons, temperament, behavior and conflict between parties. The mother’s romantic relationships were also assessed, as were her parenting skills.

Those who had a lot of conflict when the sons were younger tended to be farther apart than those who had fewer clashes and remained closer in the following years. If the mother had a good relationship with her partner she tended to be closer to her son into the teenage years.

Boys who clashed with their mothers frequently were more prone to delinquent behavior when they reached their teens whereas boys who had a good relationship with their mothers tended to have good relationships with friends too.

The findings give credence to those who say that good family values are required to help children grow up as good citizens. By having good and close family relationships the risk of boys growing up in a delinquent fashion is reduced. To prevent the next generation growing up in an antisocial fashion then a program of intervention may have to be considered to impose family focused values and avoid the conflict in the mother son relationship.

The lead author Christopher Trentacosta, an assistant professor of psychology at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan points out, “These results suggest that successfully adapting to the transitions of childhood and adolescence may require parents and children to maintain relatively high levels of closeness and minimize conflict in their relationships”. He further says that if the objective is to lessen delinquent behavior, then we should foster more closeness between parents and children. This improvement in family relationships would produce more good citizens.


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