New research shows kids experience health benefits from witnessing affection between their parents.
Good news for all those couples who don't stop making out when their kids walk into the room: New research shows that witnessing a little good old PDA between your parents actually has some health benefits.
Cool! And also...ew!
Researchers surveyed 80 kids—admittedly not a huge sample—aged 10 to 17, who all have asthma and live with a parent who is either married or in a long-term relationship. The kids kept diaries for four days documenting their asthma symptoms and their moods. They also recorded the behavior they observed between their parents—things like "My mom and dad kissed today" or "Today they got in a fight."
The findings were actually kind of surprising. While previous studies have shown that childrens' health suffered in the face of parental conflict, the kids studied here did not feel sicker when their parents fought. But they did report fewer asthma symptoms and better lung function after seeing their parents rock some PDA.
"Parents should be aware that children respond emotionally not only to the direct interactions they have with their parents, but also to...interactions their parents have between each other," said study co-author Samuele Zilioli. "In turn, these children's emotional responses can affect their health."
Keep in mind that the data here only covered four days, and that kids aren't always the most reliable reporters. But still, it's an important reminder that a parental relationship can look very different when viewed from a kid's perspective. Outward signs of affection may leave our contemporaries screaming Get a room!, but it's exactly the type of behavior that lets kids know their parents' relationship is a solid one.