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Parent and Child Relationships Essay


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This essay will present additional information concerning the parent-child relationships existing in the novel State of Wonder. The information is important because it will pave the way for understanding the psychological perspective of the book. Although the book contains numerous psychological elements, it is important to approach the subject from a parent-child viewpoint. Child development is fundamental because, in the end, it influences almost every societal element. Research has proven that children that are abused or mistreated during their childhood stage will experience abnormal emotional development. In that respect, such individuals may easily undertake illegal or immoral activities.

Thesis statement

The development of a positive parent-child relationship is very important. Studies have confirmed that family dynamics greatly influences a child’s emotional and physical status. The family dynamics also influences cognitive and social development (Paul 144). For instance, if a stepfather sexually abuses a girl-child, she is most likely to grow up hating men. Behavioral challenges among children are often traced to family struggles to cope with stresses.


Dr. Marina Sigh, who was the protagonist in the Ann Patchett’s State of Wonder, failed to enjoy a positive relationship with both her parents. Marina Sign was a doctor affiliated with a pharmaceutical company known as Vogel in the lab (Patchett 5). She was forty-two years old and had no children. The story revealed that she had married once while at school, but divorced after two and half years.

Her rocky, unstable, and rather mysterious life could be traced to the relationship with her parents. She was a child of a white mother and an Indian graduate foreign student. Marina never had an ample time to develop a good relationship with both her parents. The reason is that the parents did not remain together. Because of that, Marina had to spend some time in her father’s native home, which was situated in India. In Minnesota, her permanent residence, she experienced some degree of difference because of her darker skin color. Because she was a child of a white mother and an Indian father, Marina often felt trapped between two worlds. According to Patchett (37), she experienced nightmares revolving around “being separated from her father.” After a series of dreams, she eventually became terrified of sleep.

The separation between her parents cost the young Marina a chance to experience normal emotional development. She felt that she was different from her peers. Many experts agree that a children’s’ emotional, behavioral, and cognitive development is majorly affected by the manner in which parents raise them (McLaren and Joshua 145). There is a direct correlation between child-parent relationship and child development. Children with certain characteristics are most likely to have parents that exhibit similar tendencies.

From Ann Patchett’s novel, the relationship that was established between Marina and her mother formed the core part of her behavior. Relationships between parents and children influence both their emotional and behavioral development (Steinberg 473). Lies at times characterized the relationship between Marina and her mother. Marina often dreamt of losing her father, and she always lied to her mother about the incidences. A similar scenario occurred when Marina got home, and discussed their relationship with Mr. Fox. Soon, Marina felt asleep and experienced a nightmare (Patchett 56). She screamed, and Mr. Fox woke her up to ask what she had dreamt. She lied to him in the same manner that she used to lie to her mother. She thought that the dream about losing her father was too terrible to be shared with anyone. The relationship between Marina and her mother was not open. Trust had not been cultivated, meaning that it was impossible to air out every problem (Paul 144). Because of that, Marina endured numerous emotional challenges that were left unsolved.

In the life of Marina, the statement was proven true. The nature of relationship between her parents was repeated in her life. Her parents were unable to maintain their relationship. During her early life, Marina also got into a relationship, but divorced two and a half years later. Additionally, she entered into a secret relationship with Mr. Fox. Although she claimed to love him, she just referred to him as “Mr. Fox.” The nature of their relationship is similar to that which existed between her parents. Development of a child-parent relationship also plays a key role in preparing the child to prepare for future relationships (Keijsers and François 2302). A child-parent relationship encompasses emotions, social, mental, and religious factors that impart relationship skills and techniques. When parents develop a positive relationship with their children, the skills acquired are also utilized in various aspects of life. If her parents could have stayed together, Marina could have gotten a chance to learn various elements of relationships.

Absence of parental influence, especially from the father, made Marina to experience a deep confusion about herself. She became a case study in repression and did not entertain emotions on a deep level. For instance, when her first relationship ended, she wanted to cry but decided that time was not enough.

A loving and caring relationship had been developed between Easter and Dr.Swenson, Anders, and Marina, all of which had adopted the boy. He was a twelve-year-old, deaf Brazilian boy who always accompanied Dr. Swenson everywhere (Patchett 77). Although the boy was deaf, he was able to communicate effectively with his “parents.” Positive child-parent relationship enabled the boy to enjoy life. He was playful, wise, generous, and helpful. For instance, he helped Marina to follow Dr. Swenson to the restaurant. The parent-child relationship had developed to a level that Easter considered them as a family. At one point, the relationship between Marina and Easter was strengthened when she saved the boy from a snake. Under the care of Dr. Swenson, a parent-child relationship that developed plays a key role in empowering the young boy. Despite his deaf condition, he was able to learn numerous things. When Dr. Swenson and Marina began their river journey into the jungle, Marina was surprised to find out that the twelve-year-old Easter was permitted to pilot the boat.

In chapter six, it was revealed that Easter experienced an irresponsible relationship with his real parents. Then parents had abandoned the young Easter at Lakashi camp on an Easter day. Because of language barrier, Dr. Swenson could not know his name. Therefore, he was just named Easter.

A negative parent-child relationship was witnessed when Marina betrayed Easter. Marina, together with the team, had adopted Easter, and therefore, she was expected to take care of him. However, when she found Anders among the Hummocca tribe, she discovered that the only way for rescuing him was surrendering Easter (Patchett 92). She then exchanged Easter for Anders. When they arrived at the camp, Dr. Swenson was outraged because she considered Easter as her own child. Development of a parent-child relationship is subject to numerous underlying factors, which include parental, environmental, child, and family factors. Positive development of such relationships calls for effective communication, cultivation of trust, openness, genuine concern for each other, understanding, and forgiveness (McLaren and Joshua 147). Easter easily forgot his real parents because they failed to demonstrate genuine concern for him. However, he became attached to Dr. Swenson, a white doctor, because she became concerned about his situation. Marina betrayed Easter because she was more concerned about Anders.


In conclusion, development of a positive parent-child relationship plays a key role during adult life. Research has proven that children that experience negative parent-child relationship, especially during their early stages of life, also fail to excel in future relationships. The reason is that the relationship assists in developing the emotional, social, intellectual, and psychological capabilities.

Works Cited: Parent and Child Relationships Essay

Keijsers, Loes, and François Poulin. “Developmental Changes In Parent–Child Communication Throughout Adolescence.” Developmental Psychology 49.12 (2013): 2301-2308. PsycARTICLES. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.

McLaren, Rachel M., and Joshua R. Pederson. “Relational Communication And Understanding In Conversations About Hurtful Events Between Parents And Adolescents.” Journal Of Communication 64.1 (2014): 145-166. PsycINFO. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.

Patchett, Ann. State of Wonder. New York: Harper Perennial, 2012. Print.

Paul, Deborah. “Who’s The Boss?.” Indianapolis Monthly 38.6 (2015): 144. MasterFILE Complete. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.

Steinberg, Laurence. “Parent-Child Relationships.” The Gale Encyclopedia of Psychology. Ed. Bonnie Strickland. 2nd ed. Detroit: Gale, 2001. 473-477. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.

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