Marriage: The Impact of Effective Communication In Conflict Resolution.

Quite often marriages collapse. If you have seen the duckling (baby) be sure that you have seen the duck (mother), the scenario of “like mothers like daughters”.

The saying "If you see the duckling (baby), be sure to have seen the duck (mother)" reflects the notion that children often inherit traits and behaviours from their parents, particularly from same-sex parents. In the context of marriage and relationship dynamics, this saying suggests that patterns of behaviour observed in one generation may manifest similarly in the next. Here’s an exploration of this idea using a hypothetical case study:

Case Study: The Johnson Family


The Johnson family consists of Mrs. Johnson, her daughter Emily, and Emily's young daughter, Sophie. Mrs. Johnson had a tumultuous marriage, marked by frequent disagreements and a lack of communication with her spouse. Despite eventually divorcing, the pattern of communication she established was deeply observed by Emily.


Mrs. Johnson's Marriage: Throughout her marriage, Mrs. Johnson struggled with effective communication and conflict resolution. These issues were often visible to Emily, who as a child, witnessed many unresolved conflicts and the eventual separation of her parents.

Emily's Marriage: Emily finds herself mirroring many of her mother's behaviours in her own marriage. She notices her tendency to avoid confrontations and feels unequipped to deal with conflicts constructively, which increasingly leads to frustration and distance between her and her husband.

Intergenerational Influence: The cycle appears to be at risk of continuing with Emily’s daughter, Sophie, who is beginning to exhibit signs of stress when she witnesses disagreements at home.


This case study illustrates the concept of intergenerational transmission of behaviours and traits. The relational patterns set by Mrs. Johnson, particularly around conflict resolution, were closely observed and subconsciously adopted by Emily. Without intentional change, these patterns can perpetuate across generations, affecting each subsequent family's marital satisfaction and stability.

Psychological Perspectives

·         Social Learning Theory: This theory posits that children learn behaviours through observing and imitating others, especially primary caregivers. Emily’s learned behaviours from Mrs. Johnson exemplify this theory.

·         Attachment Theory: This theory suggests that early interactions with caregivers form the basis of expectations in later relationships. Emily’s attachment style, potentially insecure due to her childhood observations, could be influencing her current relationships.


·        Echoes of silence

Breaking the Cycle

  • Awareness and Acknowledgment: Recognizing the patterns inherited from previous generations is the first step toward change. Emily needs to understand her behaviours within the context of learned patterns.
  • Seeking Professional Help: Therapy can help individuals understand and alter dysfunctional relational patterns. Family therapy, specifically, could help Emily and her family develop healthier ways of communicating and resolving conflicts.
  • Education and Learning New Skills: Actively learning about healthy relationship skills, such as communication, conflict resolution, and emotional regulation, can empower Emily to change her marital dynamics.
  • Modelling Positive Behavior: For Sophie’s sake, Emily can break the cycle by modelling positive relationship behaviours, thus providing her daughter with a healthier template for future relationships.


The phrase "like daughters, like mothers" underscores the profound impact of parental influence on children’s behaviour and attitudes towards relationships. Through the case study of the Johnson family, it becomes evident that without conscious intervention, patterns can repeat across generations. By becoming aware of these patterns and actively seeking change, individuals like Emily can improve their own relational dynamics and set a foundation for healthier future generations. This approach not only benefits the individual families but also contributes to the broader societal fabric by fostering healthier relationships and emotional well-being.

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