If you’re confident and trusting and possess the ability to work through conflicts with your chosen one, thank your mother. If not, you may need to rethink Mother’s Day Brunch. Maybe even scrap it altogether (kidding).
A US study (via The Daily Mail) suggests that the way a baby is nurtured by its mother during the first 18 months of life has a significant effect on how that child’s love life shapes up (or goes pear-shaped) when it reaches adulthood.
Psychologists from the University of Minnesota observed 75 people from birth into their early 30s. During that time, the researchers periodically assessed the social and emotional development of the children as they aged, paying specific attention to their interactions with friends, peers and loved ones.
In the end, the study found that those children who were nurtured as babies turned out to be the most stable emotionally when it came to romantic relationships. While those children who weren’t lucky enough to enjoy a warm bond from earliest infancy with their mother struggled with confidence and were more defensive during conflicts as adults.
Professor Jeffrey Simpson, the study’s co-author, explained how an infant’s experiences with mom set the pattern for lifelong responses to intimate relationships.
Said Simpson: “Before you can remember, before you have language to describe it, and in ways you aren’t aware of, implicit attitudes get encoded into the mind about how you’ll be treated or how worthy you are of love and affection.”
But there is good news for those who’ve had romantic trouble in the past. And it doesn’t require time travel or that you don a onesie and bib.
According to Simpson, change may simply mean thinking about how old patterns have affected your thorny romantic path.
Said Simpson: “If you can figure out what those old models are and verbalise them and if you get involved with a committed, trustworthy partner, you may be able to revise your models and calibrate your behaviour differently. Old patterns can be overcome. A betrayed baby can become loyal. An unloved infant can learn to love.”