Though parents may worry that they are more involved with grown children than in the past, frequent contact between parents and their grown children can be beneficial to both parties.
That is the conclusion of an article by Professor Karen Fingerman of the University of Texas, USA, in The Psychologist the monthly magazine of the British Psychological Society.
In the article Professor Fingerman discusses how changes in modern culture, economic circumstances, communication tools, marital expectations and education opportunities have affected the bond between parents and grown-children. These changes have led to an increase in the number of adult children living with their parents (a third of adults aged 18 – 25 live with their parents according to the Office of National Statistics, 2012) and more frequent involvement even when the parts don’t live together.
Professor Fingerman said: “Increased contact between generations reflects changes in the nature of young adulthood. In the 21st century, young adults spend more time in education, experience greater challenges finding jobs and delay marriage longer (if they marry at all) than was the case 30 or 40 years ago.”
Research consistently demonstrates psychological benefits for family members who receive support. When grown children have problems studies have shown parents share their distress but have not noted any difficulties for the grown children stemming from their parents involvement. However, the negative terms used in popular media reflect the sentiment that too much parental support can smother young adults, and that dependency among grown children reflects weakness and failure.
Professor Fingerman added: “However, bonds between young adults and parents appear to be thriving. Recent trends and declines in marriage suggest intergenerational ties will continue to intensify. More research to determine when parent-child ties are beneficial and when they are toxic is needed.”