B. Orobio de Castro
- My child redeems my broken dreams: on parents transferring their unfulfilled ambitions onto their child
- PLoS One
- Volume | Issue number
- 8 | 6
- Article number
- Number of pages
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Research Institute of Child Development and Education (RICDE)
From the early days of psychology, theorists have observed that parents sometimes transfer their own unfulfilled ambitions onto their child. We propose that parents are especially inclined to do so when they see their child as part of themselves, more so than as a separate individual. When parents see their child as part of themselves, their child’s achievements may easily come to function as a surrogate for parents’ own unfulfilled ambitions. In the present experiment, 73 parents (89% women, Mage = 43 years) were randomly assigned to reflect on either their own or others’ unfulfilled ambitions. Results showed that, when faced with their own unfulfilled ambitions, parents who see their child as part of themselves want their child to fulfill their unfulfilled ambitions. This study provides the first experimental evidence to suggest that parents may desire their child to redeem their broken dreams.
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