Supportive Partners Make Good Parents, Study Says

C. Price

Written by: C. Price

C. Price

C. Price is part of's content team. She writes advice articles, how-to guides, and studies — all relating to dating, relationships, love, sex, and more.

Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

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How can you tell if someone will be a good parent? First look at whether or not they’re a good partner.

According to a new study, an individual’s partnership style directly reflects their parenting preferences, giving support to the theory an individual tends to relate to all the different intimate relationships in their life in essentially the same ways.

Abigail Millings, with the University of Bristol, produced her results by looking at 125 English couples, all of whom had children between 7 and 8 years old.

Each participant filled out a survey discussing how they connect with their partner, how they provide “romantic caregiving” and how they parent their child.


“Individuals with a strong sense of attachment were

more likely to employ an authoritative parenting style.”

Participants were also evaluated according to their approach to attachment — whether they felt anxious or secure when it came to their interpersonal relationships.

Millings found the more anxious individuals felt toward attachment, the more problems they had parenting.

Attachment-avoidant and anxious individuals were less supportive and considerate of both their partners and their children, and they were more likely to employ either authoritarian (overly strict) or permissive (insufficiently disciplined) parenting styles.

By contrast, individuals with a strong and secure sense of attachment were more likely to employ an authoritative parenting style, which provides an ideal balance of discipline and warmth.

As Millings summarized:

“It might be the case that practicing being sensitive and responsive — for example by really listening and by really thinking about the other person’s perspective — to our partners will also help us to improve those skills with our kids.”

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