A new study has some optimistic news for parents.  Researchers surveyed more than 1600 young people starting in 6th grade and following them to age 22.  They found that children whose parents followed supportive parenting styles reported closer relationships at age 22.  The parenting styles with the highest correlation to closeness were (1) parental involvement, (2) parental warmth, and (3) structured, nurturing discipline.  

Of course, these are only correlations and there is never any guarantee that specific parenting styles will have a specific impact.  But it is good to know that there are things we can do to increase the odds of a good relationship with our kids.  

We also have to be willing to take the long view.  Some of the relationship markers in the study didn’t show up until the kids were out of their teens.  It can be disconcerting to think that we have to wait that long to see the results of our love for our kids, but that’s just the way that their brains are wired. If we stay the course with providing structure and nurture even during our kids’ turbulent teen years, we have pretty good odds of having a good relationships with them as young adults.


Debbie Ausburn

Helping foster parents and stepparents learn how to be the person who is not supposed to be there.