Centre for Confidence and Well-being

Skip to content
Carol's Blog
Postcards from Scotland

Resilient parenting

There are some people who thrive and do well in life despite having experienced poor parenting and parental bonds. A recent study has focused on two groups of mothers who report poor bonding with their parents, one group that is predictably vulnerable and one that is functioning adaptively and providing good parenting to their own infants. The findings show that individuals who report poor bonds with their parents can overcome their experiences to become resilient individuals and successful parents.

The authors examined 1) if there are distinct patterns of parental bonding and adult functioning? 2) how do resilient mothers differ in their life circumstances from other mothers? and 3) how do resilient mothers differ from other mothers with respect to parenting?  The authors define resilient mothers as people who have experienced poor parental bonding but experience good adult functioning.  They define three other types of mothers:  Those who experienced good parental bonds and good adult functioning (positive-adaptive), those who experienced poor parental bonds and poor parental functioning (vulnerable) and those who experienced good parental bonds but display poor adult functioning (positive-maladaptive).

The study showed that people can overcome poor parenting.  The researchers found that resilient mothers did not differ from positive-adaptive mothers on their current functioning, despite the fact that resilient mothers experienced poor parental bonding and attachment while the positive-adaptive mothers did not.

The authors found that resilient mothers demonstrated adaptive functioning and the ability to overcome reported poor familial relationships, compared to vulnerable mothers.  Both resilient mothers and vulnerable mothers reported poor family relationships, compared to the positive-adaptive mothers.  Resilient mothers experienced, and reported less stress and demonstrated less maladaptive coping behaviour, compared to vulnerable mothers.  Vulnerable mothers were less likely to report abstaining from illegal drugs than all other mothers, including positive-maladaptive. These differences do not seem to result from education level, age or race.  In addition to this, resilient mothers were not overwhelmed by the parenting role; they did not report unsatisfying interactions with their infants or define their children as difficult.  This lack of stress has been shown to be beneficial for the healthy development of infants. 

The authors conclude that people can overcome poor parental bonds and thrive as adults.   To read this article click here

Centre Events Previous Centre Events External Events Carol's Talks