Navigation Links
Playing favorites: Parents still involved after children are grown

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Middle-aged parents are more involved in their grown children's lives than ever, according to new research from Purdue University.

"We found that middle-aged parents help each of their grown children with many types of support at least every few weeks," said Karen Fingerman, the Berner-Hanley Professor in Gerontology, Developmental and Family Studies. "This is a dramatic increase from 20 years ago, when young adults received much less support from their parents."

Not all grown children get the same support, and which children parents help most may surprise some people, Fingerman said. Most people expect parents to help their youngest child or one that is struggling, but the family studies expert found that parents also are more eager to help the child they consider most successful.

"No matter which adult child receives the most support, today's parents are helping each child with significant forms of support every few weeks," Fingerman said. "We've heard a lot about helicopter parents this decade, and often the comments are negative. Parents are giving a considerable amount of help to grown children, and they play a critical role in helping young adults make the transition from adolescence to adulthood.

"It's a complicated world today. An 18-year-old just can't strike out on their own to make it like they did 100 years ago. We're beyond the time when the average young person could start a career by working with their hands, and then start a little business that would support them and their family. Today's trajectory to success requires a lot of skill and training, which comes at a cost in terms of money, time and emotional investment. Parents help with all of that."

Fingerman also said it can be more difficult for young adults to find life partners today, and many of them are postponing marriage until they are older. As a result, these adult-children still benefit from parental emotional and social support.

Fingerman and her team evaluated how more than 600 parents, ages 40-60, reported they supported their individual children and for what reasons. The forms of support included financial, helping with tasks, giving advice, emotional support, listening and participating in social activities. The study will be published in this month's Journal of Marriage and Family.

Children who had health or financial problems, injuries, or were victims of crime were considered needy and received a great deal of support to help address those needs. Parents also provided considerable support to grown children they deemed successful in their own relationships and careers. It was these children that parents enjoyed helping the most.

Parents are motivated to help their successful young-adult children because their achievements are a reflection on the parent. After 18 years, a parent has put a lot of time and energy into raising a child. When the child is successful, the parent feels like all that effort paid off. And the parent feels successful, too, in their role as a parent, Fingerman said.

"Another possibility is that these middle-aged parents expect the successful child will help them during old age," Fingerman said. "I don't think people are deliberately that strategic, but it is a reality that the adult-children who are better achieving will help their elderly parents more. It's certainly a good investment for the parents, but it's also a good investment to rescue your children who are having problems.

"While parents may want to spend more time with the successful child, they may be more likely to give financial assistance and practical support to a child who is having problems."

The study also found that parents are not getting much in return from their children, but that is likely to change as the parents age. These middle-aged parents are healthy and financially stable so they are not in a position of need. The small amount of support that parents did receive from their children came from those successful offspring.

"It is expected that parents are going to give more toward their children," Fingerman said. "I suspect they find it rewarding or they find it very stressful if they don't intervene. And it doesn't matter how old the child is, parents have invested a lot and it's very distressing for parents to see a child not do well."


Contact: Amy Patterson Neubert
Purdue University

Related medicine news :

1. Brain Imaging Shows Playing Tetris Leads to Both Brain Efficiency and Thicker Cortex
2. Missouri Families Demand Representative Blunt to Stop Playing Politics With Healthcare Reform
3. Playing Clean - New Play Yard Covers Help Protect Against Germs
4. "Don't Play with the Flu"™ Campaign to Coach Families on Playing Defense Against Seasonal Flu
5. Report: Yahoo! Also Displaying No-Prescription Required, non-US Internet Pharmacy Ads
6. New study finds links between video-game playing and health risks in adults
7. Report Shows New York City Companies Playing Key Role In Development of New Medicines for Wide Range of Diseases
8. Playing video games for better, not worse
9. Andre Agassi Playing to Fight Breast Cancer - Tickets on Sale NOW!
10. Playing with Fashion: New Phenominoes Pendants Feature Blind Artists Phenomenal Artwork on Real Dominoes
11. Save Abandoned Babies Foundation Commends Illinois Hospitals for Being 100% in Compliance in Displaying Safe Haven Signs
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/27/2016)... Overland Park, KS (PRWEB) , ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... leader in retailers of Eyeglasses . , Millions of individuals in the United ... life, eyeglasses have become a way to both correct vision and make a fashion ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... ... Brent Kasmer, a legally blind and certified personal trainer is helping to develop a weight ... app plans to fix the two major problems leading the fitness industry today:, ... program , They don’t eliminate all the reasons people quit their exercise program ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... "With 30 hand-drawn hand gesture animations, FCPX users ... - CEO of Pixel Film Studios. , ProHand Cartoon’s package transforms over 1,300 ... Pro X . Simply select a ProHand generator and drag it above media or ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Conventional wisdom preaches the benefits of moderation, whether it’s a ... the bar too high can result in disappointment, perhaps even self-loathing. However, those who ... , Research from reveals that behind the tendency to set ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... The Pulmonary Hypertension ... that it will receive two significant new grants to support its work to ... its 25th anniversary by recognizing patients, medical professionals and scientists for their work ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 Roche (SIX: RO, ... clearance for its Elecsys BRAHMS PCT (procalcitonin) assay as ... or septic shock. With this clearance, Roche is the ... fully integrated solution for sepsis risk assessment and management. ... bacterial infection and PCT levels in blood can aid ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 Bracket , ... launch its next generation clinical outcomes platform, Bracket eCOA (SM) ... held on June 26 – 30, 2016 in ... first electronic Clinical Outcome Assessment product of its kind to ... #715. Bracket eCOA 6.0 is a flexible platform ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016 Revolutionary technology includes multi-speaker ... , industry leaders in advanced audiology and hearing aid ... Opn ™, the world,s first internet connected hearing aid ... devices.      (Photo: ) ... of ,world firsts,: , TwinLink™ - the ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: