Parents' Love Plays Vital Role in Children's Future Lives

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When children come along it is often the case that the parents focus more on their relationship with their child than with each other. However, studies confirm that when a child's parents have a good relationship, and when they still love each other, this has key benefits to the child later in life.

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A recent study from a research team at McGill University, Quebec and the University of Michigan shows that long term outcomes for the child are improved where parents continue to demonstrate their love for each other. 

This emotional connection often means that children will marry later in life and complete more years in education.

The study was conducted using data from Nepalese families, but the researchers believe that the results can be applied globally. The data was collected by the Chitwan Valley Family Study in Nepal, which started in 1995 and collected information from 151 areas in the region.

The research was interview-based, with couples contributing both together and separately with the couples asked to state how much they loved their husband or wife. 

After this, their children were followed for 12 years to collect information regarding their education and the age that they got married. 

It was found that the children of parents responding "some" or "very much" in the original questionnaire, had more years in education and also married later in life.

Family's Long-Term and Significant Impact

The research demonstrates that the level of love and positive emotion in the family has a long-term and significant impact on the lives of the children and represents a step forward in our knowledge of how family dynamics can work to shape someone's life.

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However, it is important to look at the specific history of Nepal where, until the 1970s it was accepted practice that children's marriages were arranged by the parents and divorce was unheard of. 

Since then Nepalese society has changed; more people marry for love and divorce is gradually becoming more common. At the same time education has become widely available and most children start school at the age of 5. 

Secondary school ends after 10th grade when children take an exam for their "School-Leaving Certificate." In 1996, women who were or had been married were found to have achieved their SLC less often (under 3%); by 2016 25% of women had achieved the SLC. 

In 2011 the figure for men was 31%; rising to 36.8% in 2016.

The Importance of Parental Love

Researchers plan to conduct further studies into why parental love has such an influence on children. The current thinking is that if the parents have a good relationship they will invest more time, energy and emotion in their children, and encourage them to remain in education.

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A positive and loving home environment may also mean that fewer children want to leave home or rush into a marriage. The impact of parents as role models is also likely to impact on the children's choice of partner and what they are looking for in their marriage.

Other factors considered in the research including caste-ethnicity, access to education, whether or not the parents' marriage was arranged, childbearing, and parental experience of life outside of the family, for example, being influenced by more Western views on the value of education and the nature of courtship, love, and marriage.

Even including these factors the results of the research still stood – the importance of parental love cannot be underestimated and is shown to have a definite positive or negative impact on their children. 

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Brianna Brooks

I'm a U.S. writer and a podcaster. I love Disney, fairy tales and vintage children's books. My personal motto is Walt Disney's belief "If you can dream it, you can do it."