At first glance, the relationship between parent and child seems to begin in perfect harmony. The image of parents' devotion to their infant is one that has been depicted in art for thousands of years. It often seems like a sharp contrast to the modern image of the typical adolescent-parent relationship, usually portrayed as full of strife. But are either really accurate? What factors shape the degree of conflict between parent and child? And are there particular stages in the life of a child or parent that attenuate or exaggerate the degree of conflict? An evolutionary perspective on the family can provide useful insight through the consideration of factors that influence parental investment, parent-offspring conflict theory, and maternal-fetal conflict.
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