Early parent-child attachment is a strong indicator that a child will grow up to have healthy and loving relationship, while insecure attachments in early years can lead to an increase in anxiety and depression in adulthood.
Consistently negative parenting practices lead to poor emotional self-regulation and an overall dismal view of the world.
However, we are not forever to be victims of bad parenting. Our intimate partners in adulthood can be positive factors in overcoming negative self-image and other psychological conflicts that impair our daily function and interactions with others.
New research suggests that if an adult did not benefit from a secure attachment, he/she will be able to enjoy "emotional repair" and healthy marital attachment with a responsive and fit romantic partner.
Connection and engagement are markers for a secure sense of well-being, leading to longevity, better health in later years, and meaningful relationships throughout life.
Similarly, a supportive father can offset the effects of a mother's stress or strained relationship with a child. (Of course, in family structures with two parents that are high in supportive co-parenting, with low parental stress, it is likely that they will have a greater degree of relationship quality through out a lifetime).
Perhaps this is where high-risk kids have proven to benefit exponentially with just a few cheerleaders along the way (Big Brothers, Big Sisters, CASA's, a loving aunt, an attentive teacher).