Wednesday, June 25, 2008

"Ironically," conservatives and their children are happier

Sue Shellenbarger of the Wall Street Journal reports on a new study of parenting styles regarding teen dating. This is what the study has to say about 'conservative' parents and their children:
Parents who are involved in stable romantic relationships with spouses or partners tend more than other parents to set rules limiting teen dating behavior, such as curfews, minimum ages for dating, limits on places teens can go and explicit rules against sexual activity, says a new study of 169 parents and 102 teens by Stephanie Madsen, an associate professor of psychology at Maryland's McDaniel College. While the reason isn't clear, the author suggests these parents may hold more conservative beliefs in general; many of the rules involved sexuality.

Ironically, in what other researchers have called the "Romeo and Juliet" effect, such rules may tend to drive teenage lovers closer; teens of these parents reported closer, more positive relationships.

So, people with stable, romantic relationships tended to be conservative and their children reported more positive dating relationships. Why does Shellenbarger write "ironically"? Is this one of those things that liberals consider to be a 'paradox'?

Regarding the other group of parents, Shellenbarger reports:
Parents who are unhappy, dissatisfied or insecure in love, however, go beyond limits and try to dictate or control how their teens treat their dates, the study found. These parents try to influence their kids to value certain things and act in specific ways. Parents would tell teens to open doors for dates, "act like a gentleman" (or a lady), or resist letting a date "walk all over" them. The goal may be to launch their teens on a romantic path happier than their own, Dr. Madsen says. But kids often regard this advice as intrusive, and again, it tended to have the opposite effect. The teens affected weren't particularly content with their dating relationships. [all emphasis added]
So, parents in the non-conservative group were unhappy and became control freaks with unhappy results for their children.

PREVIOUSLY, poll results showing that Republicans are happier than Democrats are discussed here and here. This difference in outlook on life likely explains, for example, why Democrats more readily condone unethical behavior (see here). Unhappiness also affects Sen. Obama's rhetoric (see here) and that of Sen. Clinton's supporters (see here).

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