Monday, October 22nd, 2012
A new Norwegian study has confirmed what many new parents already know: when transitioning into parenthood, the relationship between Mom and Dad often suffers. CNN.com has more:
“Researchers found that both married women and those who were living with, but not married to, their child’s father experienced similar decreases in relationship satisfaction during the transition into parenthood.
“It is striking that even in Norway, a nation in which there is a great deal of institutional support for parents through the transition to having children, the decrease in marital satisfaction with the birth of children that is typically seen in the United States and elsewhere still occurs,” said Jay Lebow, the journal’s editor. “It also is striking that this decrease occurs whether or not couples are married.”
This study supports earlier research: Another study from the University of Denver found that 90% of new parents experience a decline in relationship satisfaction, while a recent survey by the online magazine Baby Talk showed that fewer than a quarter of new parents were happy with their post-baby sex lives.
Said psychiatrist Gail Saltz, “Couples go from feeling that they are essentially taking care of each other to taking care of their children, and the loss of care taken from your partner leads to less relationship satisfaction. It is a psychological shift in the dynamic of the relationship that may not even be rooted in very much concrete action, or lack thereof, but more a feeling that your partner can’t take care of you like they used to.”
Experts urge parents to make a concerted effort to nurture their relationships while they are also nurturing their babies. Some tips include scheduling “play dates” with your partner while someone watches your baby, and keeping the bedroom a “sacred space” reserved just for you and your spouse to sleep or have sex.
Image: Couple with crying baby, via Shutterstock
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Friday, July 8th, 2011
A new study by a Wellesley College psychologist has tapped into a way parents can protect teens from symptoms and feelings of depression–practice honest, open, and authentic communication.
In the study, conducted by assistant professor of psychology Sally A. Theran, both male and female teens who felt they could share their opinions openly and let their parents know about their authentic lives benefited by having fewer depressive symptoms than teens who felt less comfortable saying things that are important, upsetting, or confusing to them.
The study collected information from middle-school students in three cities and towns. Consent forms were sent to parents, and then the students with permission filled out questionnaires.
Teenage girls have long been identified as experiencing depression more frequently than boys, but the data from the study shows that authentic, honest relationships affects both genders. Theran found that 31 percent of girls’ depressive symptoms, including fatigue, loss of interest, and appetite changes, and 47 percent of boys’ symptoms, could be attributed to factors relating to the authenticity of the teens’ relationships with their parents.
“Authenticity in relationships with parents gets us about a one-third, or half, of the way toward explaining the individual differences in depressive symptoms. Understanding the role that authenticity in relationships plays in both boys’ and girls’ lives can help us to buffer children from depressive symptoms.,” Theran said in a statement.
The findings did not find that authenticity and honesty with peers similarly affected rates of depression. So it appears that the parental relationship is uniquely able to influence teens’ emotional well-being and stave off depression. “Peers may be important, but perhaps authenticity has a different meaning for peers than it does for parents,” Theran wrote in the report.
Theran had this advice for parents: “I’d encourage parents to keep open lines of communication with their children – and yet remember that they are authority figures, not friends. Clearly, teenagers who could be open and honest with their parents benefited by having fewer depressive symptoms.”
(image via: http://stylish-moms.com)
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