Parents have a lot to lose when their kids become parents.
The parents who are most likely to lose custody of their kids have been the ones most likely, in fact, to get divorced.
Now, new research suggests that parents can get some relief from that financial burden by finding and forming a trusting relationship with their kids.
The research suggests parents can avoid being trapped by their kids’ expectations and concerns about what their kids want.
And the study found that the kids who are the most comfortable with parents’ parenting skills are the ones who are happiest with their parents.
“Our study shows that there is a big gap between parents’ comfort with their own parenting and how well their kids behave and respond to their parents’ expectations,” says study author Charles H. Bussman, a psychologist at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
“Parents who are trusting and competent in parenting will be able to help their kids manage expectations better.”
Parents have to trust their kids with their money, Bussmans study found.
That trust is key because “the money that parents spend on their kids can have profound and long-lasting consequences for the kids and their parents,” Bussmen says.
Parents’ trust in their own competence also is important.
The more trusting a parent is, the less likely his or her child will have problems, says Jennifer R. Tansill, a professor of psychology at the New York University School of Medicine and lead author of the study.
“It may be important for parents to talk to their children about how they are going to manage the costs of raising their own children,” she says.
The study looked at 2,000 children, ages 9 to 17, from Michigan, Colorado, and New Mexico who had been living with parents for more than six months.
Parents rated their trustworthiness on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being extremely trustworthy and 5 being extremely distrustful.
“We found that trust was positively related to the degree to which children responded to their parent’s positive and negative interactions with their parent,” says Tansills.
“For example, when children are trusting, they are more likely to report positive interactions with parents and more likely respond positively to positive interactions from parents.”
The kids who scored the highest on trustworthiness were the ones that were the most confident in their parent-child relationship.
“That’s when kids are trusting,” Tansillas says.
“They are trusting that their parents are taking care of them.”
The study also found that trusting parents were more likely than distrustful parents to help with homework, and that trusting kids were more apt to learn from adults about their parents and their interests.
“There’s a positive relationship between trustworthiness and children’s ability to make connections with adults,” says Bussmann.
“But children with high levels of trustworthiness are more inclined to learn about their own and others’ interests and interests and are more apt than children with low levels of confidence to engage in the social and emotional challenges associated with parent-teen relationships.”
Parents who trust their children also had lower levels of aggression, self-control, and impulsivity, the study reported.
The findings were published online in the journal Social Psychology and Personality Science.
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