Close Maternal Bond Helps Teenage Boys… Duh.

A new study for the journal Child Development shows that teenage boys who have a close relationship with their mother have less disciplinary issues as teenagers. The researchers followed 265 mother-son pairs from low-income families in the Pittsburgh area. While that’s a pretty small and specific sample group, I would assume that the results hold true across the country and across socio-economic classes. Really, is anyone surprised that boys who feel a close bond with their mom tend to misbehave less?

Another aspect of the data, boys whose mothers had successful and stable male relationships were more likely to form close bonds with their friends. While this connection is a little more complex, I still think that we can all wrap our heads around the idea that when young boys see loving and caring relationships, its easier for them to form close friendships. After all, for teenage boys, their friendships provide more complex and dedicated relationships than almost any other.

Normally, I find parenting studies to be interesting, but often their results are predictable. Do children benefit from having involved and loving parents? The answer is probably always going to be, “Yes.” Do they have an easier time building relationships if they have an ever-present example as a model? That makes sense too.

I have to say that this study just seems like common sense. Hopefully we’re all striving to have connected relationships with our kids. The earlier we begin working at that bond, the more established it will be when our kids hit their tumultuous teenage years. There are always outliers and families never fit an exact mold, but building an emotional connection with your children seems like a pretty natural way to keep them out of trouble. Close maternal bonds keep everyone out of trouble.

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