Understanding parent—child relationship as a developmental process: Fluctuations across days and changes over years.

Toward advancing the understanding of relations among family relationships when children transition into adolescence, this study investigated whether parent—child relationship (PCR) quality assessed at the daily level changed developmentally and/or fluctuated due to daily experiences. Specifically, this study examined (a) whether parents’ daily perceptions of marital relationship (MR) quality were associated with their own and/or their partners’ PCR on the same day and the following day, and (b) whether relations among these daily influences changed over a 2-year period as children developed. Participants recruited included 237 2-parent families with preadolescent or adolescent children (52% girls). Both fathers and mothers completed daily diaries about MR and PCR for 15 consecutive days each year for 3 consecutive years. Results indicated that daily PCR did not change developmentally but was subject to day-to-day variations based on parents’ daily MR: parents’ distressed MR was related to their own lower emotional quality in PCR on the same day (supporting the spillover hypothesis), but higher emotional quality in PCR on the next day (supporting the compensatory hypothesis). Compensatory association was also found between father-reported average MR and mother-reported daily PCR. Furthermore, the same-day spillover and cross-day compensatory effects tended to decrease developmentally, as children transitioned into adolescence. The findings illustrated the interdependent, changing, and dynamic patterns of family relationships and underscored the importance of differentiating between father—child and mother—child relationship. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)