RESEARCH CENTRE: Having many romantic partners? Blame your mum
- Children pick up this influence from the number of men their mothers date, the number of cohabitation relationships, and how long she stays in a marriage.
How a mother influences her children in life has never been in doubt! According to a new research conducted by United States-based Ohio University, mothers do not just influence their children’ general life. They also influence how they date, and how long their relationships and marriages last.
Interestingly, the study says that children pick up this influence from the number of men their mothers date, the number of cohabitation relationships, and how long she stays in a marriage. The study also suggests that the number of marriages or come-we-stay relationships a mother has is almost proportional to the number her children will have.
“Mothers have certain characteristics that make them more or less desirable in the marriage market and better or worse at relationships. Children inherit and learn these skills and behaviours, and mostly take them into their own relationships,” says Associate Professor Claire Dush, who led the study.
When conducting the study, Ms Dush and her colleagues analysed scientific data from the US National Longitudinal Survey of Youth and the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth Child and Young Adult.
The two studies had a total of 7,152 participants, who were followed up for over 24 years from 1979. Participants in the first longitudinal survey were biological children of participants in the second longitudinal survey. “The two surveys examined trends on marriage, divorce, and cohabiting relationships and dissolution,” said Ms Dush.
“We discovered that mothers who have more partners don’t have great relationship skills, don’t deal with conflict in marriages or relationships well, or have mental health problems.” These relationship characteristics were then passed on to children, and ended up making the children’ relationships and marriages equally less stable.
Strikingly, the study discovered that siblings who were exposed to their mother’s cohabitation for longer periods had more partners than siblings who were exposed to less of their mothers’ cohabitation. “There was a tendency to perceive cohabitation as an attractive, lower-commitment type of relationship if the participant had seen their mother in them. Cohabiting relationships were also more likely to break apart, leading to a cycle of cohabitation and break-ups,” the study said.
Although the study identified finances as having some influence on the number of partners mothers had, it was not directly linked to the number of partners that their children ended up having in their adulthood. “Money is not the main reason people follow their mothers’ behaviours and characteristics when it comes to dating, cohabiting and marrying,” said the study. The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE.