Everything you do for and say to your children will impact them. Not just immediately but for years to come. You know this to be true whenever you recall how your own parents treated you and talked to you and advised you when you were younger. Then, you couldn’t be further in your opinions but now, looking back, you think, “Damn, I have become my mother.”
There’s a study out of the University of Alabama, Culverhouse College of Commerce that suggests the way a person is parented impacts their future relationships, both personal and professional. So if you don’t want your kids to have problems at work (a distant reality but scarily, not that far off), you might want to check your parenting style.
“It really is about both parents, but because mothers are typically the primary caregivers of the children, they usually have more influence on their children,” Dr. Peter Harms said according to Science Daily.
Researchers studied manager-employee relationships in the workplace and found a link between parenting styles and workplace behaviour, based on the work of early psychoanalyst John Bowlby. He focused on how parents dealt with crying babies and asked the age-old question: should parents let their child cry or comfort the infant?
According to the theory of attachment, babies learn over time that when they feel abandoned or threatened, they either can or can’t rely on their parents to come to the rescue. If parents don’t come, the appeals for help cease and they can become anxious or avoidant and not trust as easily. With parents who do rush to comfort their kids, those infants learn that higher levels of distress will earn them immediate attention. They see their parents as reliable and supportive and that trust transfers to outsiders.
“Anxiously attached people genuinely want to be loved, but they are nervous that the important people in their lives won’t return their affection,” said Harms. “So they overreact anytime they think their relationships are threatened. They use guilt and extreme emotional displays so that others will stay near and reassure them. They get really upset and can’t turn it off.
“On the other hand, avoidant people feel, ‘I don’t want to love you, and you don’t need to love me. So just leave me alone,'” he added. “You won’t find these people weeping over broken relationships.”
The goal of the study was to see if the theory held up in workplace relationships between a boss and an employee.
“Your boss is sort of like your parent,” said Harms. “They’re the ones who can take care of you, they’re supposed to train you and support you. This is especially true for individuals new to the workforce.”
Researchers found that a boss’s management style mattered less to secure and avoidant individuals. “Secure individuals have a long history of caring relationships, so they have other people who they can fall back on,” Harms said. “And avoidant individuals just simply don’t care.”
Anxious employees also tend to feel “threatened” and their “deep-seated anxieties leak out, and it starts to preoccupy them in an unhealthy way.”
So if you don’t want your child to have trouble connecting with a boss or co-workers, you might want to rethink how you’re coping with your crying kid. Because, as usual, it all starts at home.