Children tend to desire similar types of relationships like their mothers wanted. They seek the same form of affection.
Every parent aspires to be their child's first and most important role model. Children look up to their idols and try to become them in every way possible. Well, here's some news for the mothers. A recent study has found out that mothers have a more crucial role in their children's lives than they imagine they do. Children apparently take on the romantic habits of their mothers. Researchers suggest that children tend to have multiple partners if that is what their mothers preferred, while those who favor monogamous relationships tend to have mothers who behaved similarly. However, scientists are at loss to explain why. It has already been studied and proven several times that children with divorced parents are more likely to have a troublesome marriage themselves. The study was conducted at the University of Ohio and published in the journal PLOS One last November. Having your mother's eyes or nose or other features seems pretty normal. Romantic habits? That is something most people would prefer not to know.
The researchers studied the data collected from surveys conducted on thousands of people in the last 24 years. The data on the fathers was unavailable. It has been argued that socialization and economic status play important roles in the number and nature of relationships people tend to have. However, researchers suggest that a major part of it is purely genetic. The study suggests that some people have inherited personality traits that decide on how good or bad they are at handling relationships and the kind of relationships they desire.
People who suffer from depression, trust issues, and those who do not know how to regulate their emotions well, apparently pass their issues on to the next generation. As mentioned earlier, there is an economic link that the researchers have previously found. The idea being that the financial insecurity that often comes with a mother who frequently changes partners damages the child emotionally, making it harder for him or her to settle down themselves. This does not mean that polyamorous women or men are incapable of providing a stable environment for their children. It's all a matter of how one manages their relationships with their partners and their children.
Claire Kamp Dush, the lead author of the study and an associate professor of human sciences at Ohio State University, said in a statement, "It could be that mothers who have more partners don’t have great relationship skills, or don’t deal with conflict well, or have mental-health problems, each of which can undermine relationships and lead to instability. Whatever the exact mechanisms, they may pass these characteristics on to their children, making their children’s relationships less stable.” There are those mothers who are well-adjusted in life despite having multiple partners.
These mothers do not have multiple partners to relieve themselves of some sort of stress or because of emotional unbalance. They have several partners because they want to. They simply do not desire to get married and settle down with one person. Some are married and still have consensual relationships with other partners - like in an open marriage.
The study focused on three main variables that are related to how relationship patterns are transferred from one generation to another. The three criteria are the transmission of economic hardship, the transmission of marriageable characteristics and relationship skills, and the transmission of relationship commitment. As reported by The Washington Examiner, We found that partnering was transmitted across generations in our sample of mothers and their young adult offspring, even after accounting for prospective measures of economic instability, write the authors. Our findings suggest that the most plausible reason underlying the transmission of choice in partners is the transmission of poor marriage and relationship skills [emphasis mine], which can include but are not limited to conflict resolution skills, personality, and mental health.
None of this means that you are doomed just because your mother suffered in love or ended up with very bad people from time to time. The study also writes, 'poor marriageable characteristics, such as personality traits, may actually be malleable; and the clinical psychological literature consistently shows that relationship skills can be improved'. In other words, we aren't all going to go down the same path generation after generation. The mistakes or choices our mothers made can be unlearned. The study only suggests that the number and type of relationship preferences have a greater chance of taking place.
Relationship habits can be learned and unlearned. Personalities can be improved. Children have the power to learn habits that their mothers never did and mold their own relationship habits. Sometimes, children can also learn from the mistakes their mothers made and not go down the same path. This way you can break the cycle and start a new one, something that you believe is right and what you would like to see your future generations to follow. At the end of the day, learning starts from home and children's personalities are molded by what they see and absorb.
If children are exposed to healthy long-term relationships in their home right from the start then they tend to pick up the habit. However, if they are exposed to something negative or seeing their mothers with multiple partners, their personalities will take some effort and time to be molded in order for them to enjoy a stable relationship. Even though the study says that the habits are embedded in our genes - genetics at the end of the day, are influential, not deterministic.