Conference Program

keynote speaker

Looking at the Darks Side of Close Relationships to Parents and Romantic Partners

Inge Seiffge- Krenke, Johannes Gutenberg-Universitat, Mainz, Germany

Among the various types of romantic relationships in emerging adults, uncommitted, unstable relationships and too symbiotic relationships are prominent. Divorce research and research on attachment and coping highlight the transgenerational transmission of conflictual relationships, unsecure attachment patterns and dysfunctional coping styles from parents to romantic partners. Enmeshed and symbiotic early relationships are particularly problematic. Research and case studies on patients illustrate the importance of self-object differentiation in childhood and the establishment of clear generational boundaries in the family. However, in recent year children have become the self- object of their parents, and due to increasing rates of divorce and separation, serve frequently a partner substitute. How can parents (in case they are hovering parents) help to encourage their emerging adults to explore partnerships outside the family – without being incestuous? Cultural aspects have to be considered, too. When parents determine marriage patterns, this could result in a good choice and happiness, but could also end up in dramatic scenes, afflicting the health of young people, especially women.

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