Parental Nurturance in Childhood

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Many emerging adults today, particularly those who are enrolled in college, struggle with some form of anxiety. It might be clinical, or it could simply be a result of the stressors that people in this stage experience, but it is common enough to raise concern. It is possible that it is partially related to unstable upbringings that they experienced throughout their childhood and adolescent years. Studies have shown that parental nurturance and attentiveness are important for children's well-beings as they become adults, so those factors potentially could have a correlation specifically to feelings of anxiety.

Parental Nurturance

Parental nurturance and attention are vital for children to grow socially and emotionally. Children who continually misbehave often have adverse welfares later in their lives, and monetary struggles during one's early years also can negatively affect well-being in emerging adulthood, possibly due to weaker family ties and parenting practices (Lee, Beckert, & Marsee, 2018). In addition, familial problems and lacks of nurture in childhood can lead to otherwise mentally well emerging adults having insecure attachments and feeling the need to seek reassurance (Raposa & Hammen, 2018). It is vital, therefore, that parents provide safety, security, and nurturance beginning at birth and continuing into childhood to promote positive mental health development.

In Adolescence

Attachment to and nurturance and attention from parents are also keys to adolescent development. Adolescence can be a time of uncertainty and stress, so it is important for those individuals to receive emotional support from their parents. Mothers who validate their older adolescents' feelings present them with opportunities to share their emotions (Main, Lougheed, Disla, & Kashi, 2018). Such emotion-coaching parents teach their offspring to think about what they are feeling and talk through it, and at the same time, they develop an increased sense of trust with their adolescents. Similarly, communication with parents correlates to fewer signs of depression in girls and a decreased likelihood of future instances (Finan, Ohannessian, & Gordon, 2018). If mothers discuss things that upset them, adolescents in turn often feel that they can also share their stressors (Chaparro & Grusec, 2015). Therefore, emotional disclosure between parents and their adolescent children affects the children's mental development.

Overall, parental characteristics necessary to facilitate life-skills development appear to be warmth, nurturance, encouragement, and a responsive connection between parent and child (Slicker, Picklesimer, Guzak, & Fuller, 2005, p. 240). If all of these are established, adolescents can better adjust to emerging adulthood.

In Emerging Adulthood

In emerging adulthood, the period of life from approximately 18-29 years of age, people go through changes as they decide what they will do with their lives and who they are in their communities. Therefore, this can be a time of great stress and maladjustment, but college students who have two active and efficient parents have better adjusted to the stressors that accompany this period than those who do not (McKinney, Morse, & Pastuszak, 2014). However, disclosure between the two parties can be difficult, because the emerging adult's need for independence can hinder his or her perceptions of the parent's receptiveness (Jiang, Yang, & Wang, 2016). Nevertheless, constructive parenting methods correlate to lower stress levels for emerging adults (Donnelly, Renk, & McKinney, 2013). Therefore, continual parental nurturance positively affects the development of children in this stage, and it possibly has an effect on their anxiety also.

Anxiety in College Students

A recent study found that approximately one-third of sampled college students reported struggling with a mental disorder, with generalized anxiety disorder being the second most prevalent (Auerbach et al., 2018). The results from this convenience sample cannot be generalized to all college students, but they do show that anxiety among this population is an issue in today's society that needs future studies.
There are several reasons for anxiety in college students today. Navigating the process of separation individuation can have this effect, as can a constant need to receive approval (Lindsey, 2014). High stress levels due to assignments and the need to determine future plans can also be involved. Additionally, sometimes college students struggle with being away from home and making new friends, and therefore they are forced to cope with these new stressors without adequate support systems. Any combination of these factors can lead to feelings of anxiety among college students, which is a widespread issue today.


It is possible that there is a correlation between parent-child relationships and feelings of anxiety that the children have in emerging adulthood. This can be determined through administering parental nurturance surveys and questionnaires related to feelings of anxiety to college students.


Weaker parenting practices and low degrees of nurturance in parent-child relationships might be related to the anxiety that many emerging adults experience today. It is important for young children to securely attach to their parents and receive reassurance. This will help them to feel that they can disclose their emotions to their parents into adolescence and adulthood and continue to have strong relationships with them. Such ties can lend the support that many college students need to maintain strong mentalities and emotional health. Therefore, it is important for parents to establish strong relationship with their children, nurture them, and support them in every possible way.

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Parental Nurturance in Childhood. (2019, Mar 13). Retrieved July 12, 2024 , from

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