4 factors that help mothers better cope with motherhood.
Where does a mother draw her strength and energy during her lifelong involvement with her children? Two researchers from Arizona State University say unconditional acceptance by friends and authenticity in relationships play essential roles in keeping mum happy, and thus grounded in her tasks with child rearing and development.
For the study Professor of psychology Suniya Luthar and post-doctoral research associate, Lucia Ciciolla asked more than 2,000 mothers what factors helped them cope with motherhood.
Luthar and Ciciolla, said that four factors stood out as main contributors to help keep distress at bay:
- Unconditional acceptance
- Feeling comforted when needed
- Authenticity in relationships
- Friendship satisfaction.
The authors reported that being married, per se, was not related to mothers’ psychological wellbeing; more significant was the quality of the marriage. And even when women were satisfied with their partners, there were powerful effects for the equality of women’s relationships.
Luthar’s work on this study is a by-product of her more than 25 years of work on resilience among children facing adversities. Recurrently, resilience researchers have found that the single most powerful “protective factor” for kids is having a strong, supportive bond with the primary parent. As mothers are often primary parents she is now focused on what best helps mothers to function well. Highlighting parallels between the needs of children and their mothers who tend to them, Luthar said, “just as unconditional acceptance is critical for children, so it is critical for mothers who must provide it. Mothers, like children, benefit greatly when they know they have reliable sources of comfort when in distress.”