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Parent-Children Relationships Benefit from Multiple Communication Channels

Update Date: Oct 25, 2014 12:40 PM EDT

When parents and children use similar communication channels, their relationships can benefit, a new study found. Researches from the University of Kansas found that connection via phone, email and social media websites can boost relationship satisfaction.

"A lot of parents might resist new technologies. They don't see the point in them or they seem like a lot of trouble," Jennifer Schon, a doctoral student in communication studies, said reported by Medical Xpress. "But this study shows while it might take some work and learning, it would be worth it in the end if you are trying to have a good relationship with your adult child."

For this study, the team recruited 367 participants between the ages of 18 and 29. The participants completed a survey that asked them about how they communicated with their parents, how often they used technology and how satisfied they were with the relationship that they had with their parents. Communication channels included phones, cell phones, texting, instant messaging, Snapchat, email, video chat, social networking website and online gaming sites.

Overall, the average number of communication channels that the participants used with their parents was three. For each additional form of communication that adult children used with their parents, there was an increase in their relationship satisfaction level. The team added that parents who have basic communication competency, which is the ability to speak clearly with their children, had better relationship satisfaction and might not necessarily benefit from adding more communication channels. However, other parents could improve their relationship with their adult children by adding more forms of communication.

"If you are only using one or two technologies to communicate, adding a third might hit the sweet spot for relationship satisfaction. If you realize you are not the best communicator and you don't have the best relationship with your child, adding another channel, such as Facebook or email, might improve the relationship," Schon said. "Current technologies encourage us to desire connectedness with people we are close to even though we aren't with them all the time."

The study, "Dad Doesn't Text: Examining How Parents' Use of Information Communication Technologies Influences Satisfaction Among Emerging Adult Children," was published in the journal, Emerging Adulthood.

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